My son searched for colleges during the height of COVID. That long, seemingly endless, stay-at-home, pre-vaccine year was his junior year of high school. And so he visited colleges on Zoom from the comfort of his bedroom, which also served double duty as his classroom.
During one long winter weekend, my husband drove him to see a few closed to the outside world college campuses. At each school, the two of them walked around in the cold glancing at their phones for reference as to what was a classroom building and what was a dorm or perhaps a student center. They reported back to me that the libraries looked nice and so too the rolling hills covered in snow. That was pretty much it.
Now that my daughter is a high school junior and the world has opened up in every way, she is on the college touring circuit in full force. I am right there with her playing the role of the supportive, caring and quite possibly overly enthusiastic mom. We have traveled by car, by train and most recently by plane with the hopes of finding the right fit (as they say!) college for her.
Full disclosure: I love these college visits. I am completely impressed and amazed at all that the current college students do with their time on and off campus during their college years, not to mention the resources, facilities and what seems like endless opportunities at the schools. I find myself day dreaming during the admissions power point presentations/videos about the courses my daughter can take, the clubs she can join, the countries she can visit when she studies abroad and the internships she may have. I also find myself wondering what I did with all of my time during my own four years of college while also questioning how I even got into college in the first place.
During the actual tour part where the student guide walks backwards a la “we’re walking, we’re walking,” a line from one of my most favorite scenes in one of my most favorite movies — Dave, I glance at my daughter in hopes of figuring out what she is thinking. Is she as excited? Is she imagining herself as a student at this school? Is she taking note of the different courses of study she could pursue? Does she think the students we see along the way could be her people? She softly smiles back at me and also gives me that you are so weird look, which I choose to see as a glance of endearment. We catch each other’s eyes as the one dad (there’s always one) asks way too many questions of the tour guide at a…