Transition from High School to College

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My oldest just finished her finals! She said, now she can finally breathe! (My daughter’s in her 2nd year and had been awarded Deans List and a member of the National Collegiate of Scholars so you can imagine that she was just studying for weeks!)
I have four kids and by the time my youngest goes to college, I should be a pro by then, right?

My first college experience was not what I thought it would be. My oldest applied to all the universities she hoped to graduate from. I remember her saying, “I can’t wait to go away to college.” And with that in mind, she applied to most colleges in the South. My daughter, my husband and I toured and visited about five universities and when she got the scholarship to her number one choice, University of South Carolina, we went back and did the campus tour and the whole “Welcome to College” orientations. We were impressed and couldn’t wait for the “move-in” date.

Since it’s the first child going away to college, the entire family planned to drive her on her “move-in” date. A few weeks before the move-in date, I thought her and I will be so excited going to Bed, Bath and Beyond to pick out all the accessories and gadgets she’ll need for her dorm.

Sadly, my daughter had second thoughts. She actually hated the idea of going away to college. I’m not sure if it’s because of her boyfriend or she was just getting cold feet. But since we already rejected the other universities’ offer, I just can’t let her not go to college at all. My husband and I just thought she was just getting the initial “scared”-phase of being away from home. (Even though for the last 2 years of her high school, all she kept saying was – “I can’t wait to go away to college.” )
So off she spent her first semester at University of South Carolina (USC). My husband, I and her 3 brothers dropped her off on her “move-in” date. That experience was the most stressful, frustrating and emotionally draining experience of our lives. She didn’t stop crying. Every time she came home from a school break, she cried hysterically every time she had to fly back to South Carolina. She still finished the semester as one of the featured editors of the school’s magazine/newspaper and was awarded the President’s Award for her 4.0 average.

She worked and applied to transfer the very first week she was at USC. We tried to talk her out of it, but she was just miserable. So for her 2nd semester, she got in to Rutgers and decided to live in campus. But after dorming for 4 days at Rutgers University she’s back at our crying on the 5th day. So now she commutes to Rutgers and said she’s absolutely happy to be at Rutgers University – ( one of the schools we told her to apply initially but back then she hated the idea that it’s in NJ). In two years, she hopes to graduate (with honors) and be a school teacher.

My second child is graduating from High School this summer. He applied to 6 universities and got accepted to 5. They all gave him merit scholarships. The 6th one he didn’t get in is the university I wanted him to go to even though he didn’t want to. And guess what, on May 1st ( the deadline to accept or decline admission), he decided to go to the community college. With kids’ uncertainty and the current financial crisis, I’ve heard a lot of kids in his class are going to community college until they all figure out exactly what they want to be. He still wants to pursue Music Production and Technology /udio Engineering.
I just kind of feel bad that he won’t have that “college experience” but what is that “college experience” anyway? Part of me wants them to go away to college to experience what’s out there but after hearing what’s going on in different school campuses, I am actually happy that they are still living at home. I think they will experience that “college experience” in a more monitored way. They will be independent adults (eventually) but right now they will focus on school, work and being happy!

So I guess you can say, that “the exciting feeling of the college transition you see in magazines and television?” – well, we are still looking forward to it.

My third child is entering high school and got accepted to the University program and Honors program. He’ll be taking college courses and is already thinking of universities to apply to. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania – that’s what’s on his list (for now). I know we still have 3 years before he starts applying, but I’ll actually just wait and see what college/university he finally ends up going. He has high aspirations and sometimes I worry (as my 8yo says - I worry because that's my job as a mom!).

My fourth child, yes, my 2nd grader! We still have a decade before we embark on college. Although he thinks he wants to be an astronaut, he definitely has negotation skills fit for an attorney. For now, all he’s concerned about day-to-day is who among his friends can come over for a playdate.

Having four children, there’s no cookie-cutter as far as parenting is involved. They are all different and uniquely their own personalities. Every experience, conversation and adventures have taught me how to react, view things differently and digest this whole parenting responsibilities.
The best part of having four crumbcatchers? I get four "I love you, mom" in the morning as they all head out the door ...

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  1. I couldn't agree with you more. Every child is unique.
    That was an awesome post.

  2. You are 100% right about every child being diffrent, my 2 are like night and day!! I think your blog is great and really enjoyed reading some of the posts!!

    And Thanks for checking out mine too!!


  3. awesome post! I agree with you 100% children are like snow flakes. Never one alike.

  4. What wonderful little pieces-of-you you have. What a blessing to be a mom, huh? :)

  5. Happy Wednesday!! I am passing on an award to you because I think your blog is fabulous. Stop by and pick it up and have a great day!!

  6. This reminds me of when I went away to college...I cried, my mom cried and everytime I came home I cried...LOL
    Then I decided to just commute and I graduated with honors....funny huh?
    They will all do fine...although I do think they all need a little steer in the right direction sometimes!
    Your very blessed to have such smart beautiful kids!!! :)

  7. THank you guys! Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend!

  8. You're right, what is the "college experience" anyway? I had a very untraditional college experience, and enjoyed it just the same. College is the journey and destination combined. And each journey is individual. But it sure sounds like you've got a house full of winners. Way to go, Mom!

  9. I am not sure if this post brings me more hope or sadness. Our oldest is on the honors/AP track in HS, but he blows off and is barely passing his classes. He just doesn't want to do any work and doesn't seem to have any aspirations anymore. (He used to have them!)

    Our 2nd is 4th grade and always turns in all his work. He's not very ambitious, but that might change.

    Our 3rd is only 3 and sits and does her 'homework' (she creates her own homework) for hours on end. I guess there is always hope with her!

    Thanks for participating!

  10. To all, thank you for stopping by and yes - all our kids are precious, unique in their own ways.

    @Diana, sometimes kids need to find what they're interested in. With your guidance I'm sure, our kids will do well.

    Have a great week!


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