Road trip!!! Headed up to Jen's college this weekend to empty out her dorm. We drive up Friday night, empty out the room, and drive home Saturday. Jen plans to come home with us, then head back to school on the 12th, she's got a final exam on the 13th, and then she'll check out of her dorm and begin her summer.
It's hard to believe she's almost done with her sophomore year of college. Two years have gone by so quickly!
I remember the day we moved her into her freshman dorm. The four of us -- Jen, Becca, their father and I -- drove up to school in his minivan the night before move-in day. I wasn't able to get a reservation close to the campus, so we wound up staying at a motel about half an hour away.
The next day we drove back to the school and into utter chaos.
There isn't much parking available near the dorms, so you have to pull up to the building, empty out your vehicle and then move the vehicle to a distant parking lot. then you carry everything upstairs to your child's room and try to find a place for all of her "stuff". You can tell whose child is a girl and who has a boy just by the amount of "stuff" piled up on the lawn outside the dorm.
Some 8 months later you reverse the process.
When we moved her into her dorm this year, we felt like old pro's. So moving her out of the dorm shouldn't be too much of an issue.
Next year, alas, we don't get to torture ourselves at Jen's school. She's moving off campus. Five students will be renting a house in a town about 15 minutes away from the campus. The house has a large driveway, so when we help her move in we won't feel rushed or hassled.
Not that we escape entirely. Becca's dorm is in Manhattan. No parking whatsoever. Can you imagine the mad dash we'll have to accomplish when we move her into her dorm?
Here are a few pictures I took of Jen's freshman room:
No, that's not the cry of a pilot whose plane is about to crash and burn. It's the cry of a high school senior who must make a decision about where to go to college. After all the acceptance letters have arrived, after you've visited, or re-visited, the schools where your child has actually been accepted, it's time for the final decision. Deposits must be mailed by May 1 in order for the student to secure his/her place in the freshman class.
Those of you who read my blog may know -- or at least suspect -- which college Becca chose. In truth, she mailed her deposit into the school of her choice in early April, even before we attended the admitted students event. And to be completely honest, it wasn't the school I thought she'd choose. But then again, I wouldn't have guessed which school Jen would attend, either.
Jen had little interest in college for most of her high school career. didn't tour colleges in her junior year, didn't even want to talk about t. when you asked her what she wanted to do, she'd tell you she wanted to attend a college here on Long island, live in the dorm during the week and come home every weekend.
Until senior year. Her guidance counselor suggested she give herself the option of going away, and suggested a few colleges she thought would be suitable.
So Jen applied to several schools on the Island, one in upstate New York, and two schools in New England. She was accepted at two Long island schools and weight listed at the third, but once those acceptance letters came from the New England schools, she no longer had any interest in the Long island schools. February, March and April were spent on road trips visiting both schools, attending events for accepted students and evaluating Jen's options. One school was a small private college in an urban setting, the other a large public university in a more rural environment. She didn't make her decision until the last week in April.
She loves her school -- the large public university. she is just a few exams away from completing her sophomore year, with plans to go back next year and live off campus. (trust me, the "off campus" part caused me a few new gray hairs....)
Becca, on the other hand, began preparing for college from the first day of high school. Put lots of pressure on herself to do well on the PSAT and SAT exams, pushed to take honors and AP classes, educated herself on the various types of colleges and universities and their admission requirements. The day after Jen moved into her freshman dorm, Becca announced "it's my turn", and began planning our college road trips. Ultimately she decided she wanted an urban campus, preferably in another state (we made several trips to Boston and to Washington, DC), a school with lots of opportunity for internships. In fact, she applied "early decision" to her dream school in Boston...and was not accepted. I was a bit surprised -- her guidance counselor told us it was a "reach/obtainable" school and she had a very good chance if she applied "early decision".
Five admission letters finally arrived -- one from the school Jen attends, one from a small college in upstate New York (a safety school her guidance counselor suggested), one in Philadelphia, one in DC and one in NYC, and she was wait-listed at a school in Florida.
The decision was easy. She chose the school in NYC. Told me it's where she wanted to go even before we saw the place on accepted students day, sent in her deposit in early April. She'll be living on campus in Manhattan, but she's close enough to get home any time she wants to. On the way home from our tour of the school, she went through the course catelogue with genuine excitement -- there were dozens of classes she wants to take. and even better, her best friend since kindergarten will be attending another large NYC university, so the girls will be able to get together periodically.
Funny, isn't it? The girl who wanted to stay close to home wound up 2 states away and the one who wanted to leave home will actually stay close...
Would you have thought that a hard part of getting Abe through the college application process would be getting him a high school transcript? Well never would I, but getting the transcript has taken well over a month!!
I started the process of getting his transcript before his IEP meeting, I think that was back in the beginning of November!! The special education people didn't seem to have the slightest idea of what to do and suggested I talk to the registrar at Rosie's high school (where Abe would have been going).
But the registrar didn't have access to any of Abe's grades, so it was back to SPED to get them to sen over copies of all of the grades for his high school years. But wait, they don't have all of them. So I need to call the schools that he went to in 9th grade and for 11th grades tog et them to send them over. One school was great about it and emailed it right over. The other one..... let's just say that global warming had NOT set in.
So the registrar had all of Abe's grades, but there is a further complication. Since he's a 2 nd year senior, she doesn't know how to add those classes onto the transcript and she needs to go deal with someone from the computer support area!! Argh!!!
But finally, she faxes me what she plans on sending out officially. For 11 th grade, grades are listed as "see attached" since he medically withdrew from one school and finished out the credits at a his current school. But the registrar couldn't figure out what to do about that- and certainly couldn't figure out how to assign him a grade point average.
So the colleges that are getting this transcript are going to scratch their collective heads and say WTF?! And hopefully, look at the fact that this kid is persevering and doing his internship and trying and let me into their college.
But that's still in the future. But this hurdle has been crossed.
BSC only houses around 50% of its students, the rest mostly being commuters with a few living just off-campus. But Abe wouldn't go here unless he got housing. But it was stated at the open house (and true for all Massachusetts state schools) that if an applicant is accepted Early Action, s/he has a much greater chance of getting housing than those students that wait for general decision.
The deadline for getting the application in for Early Action is...... TODAY!!!!
Luckily, the application is on-line and they allow all of the supplementary documents to come in after the deadline (like the HS transcript and the SAT scores).
So rush, rush, rush. Abe has written an essay- for the common college application (which BSC does not take) but it's at school and not at home, so there were arrangements to be made to get it emailed to mom and then Mom to press the send button. (done)
Eeek. But then I get into a funk, can Abe actually handle college? Sometimes I think yes, and sometimes I think no. Time will tell.
Have a junior this year? Start saving now. And by saving, I mean putting away a sizeable chunk of change every week, because if you think you got nickled and dimed to death in elementary school, you're not going to believe senior year.
Before school even starts they start with the "BUY THE YEARBOOK NOW" emails and snail mail. Before school even starts, they want a check for $100 for the yearbook. Welcome to senior year.
Most of the dunning I just toss in the circular file. Class rings? TOTAL waste of money. And they cost hundreds of dollars.
Senior portraits? A $35 sitting fee, then offers of packages that run from $295 to over $1000. For a photo of your darling special snowflake taken by a hack photography studio that only does school photos. Our school does not accept any other portraits.
Let's not forget the Prom. $100 per ticket, tux rental at $125+, new shoes, a corsage and lapel flower at around $50, a haircut, makeup, a new dress, underwear, and then there is the freaking transportation. A limo? Could cost every kid $100 just to ride in a limo. One with a fireplace is more.
Oh, how about those prom photos. You know, the posed ones you parents want to put on your coffee table right next to the b'nai mitzvah album and your wedding album? Check out the cost.
Prom pictures are from 6:30-7:30 at the Copley before Prom starts. If you would like pictures taken you must
bring a check the night of prom.
Tomorrow, during advisory, a brochure will be passed out with the
different photo packages, which range in price from $29-95.
Cap and gown? $35. And they are ugly and barely clean.
And then there are the guilt costs. In our school we have two papers, the Lion's Roar and the Denabola. Plus we have a local city newspaper. And the yearbook. You get dunned for every single one of those pieces of great literate. They call you on the phone with this whole guilt speech about how you want to honor your graduate with a congratulatory ad in such and such publication. Every parent is doing it, you want to do it too. You're poor? We have tiny ads for your poor people. Look at the costs just for the school papers:
Congratulate Your Graduate with an
Ad in The Lion's Roar
special section devoted solely to the Class of 2009 will be distributed at
graduation on June 11; we want to include your tribute to your son or
daughter. A graduation tribute in The Lion's Roar has many advantages:
No extra charge for photos
An award-winning design staff
that has won major national awards will design your ad at no extra cost
We distribute at graduation,
in school, in the community, and mail home to subscribers
Full page (11x17): $220Half page (11x8.5): $170Quarter page (5.5x8.5): $120Eighth page (5.5x4.25): $80Ads can be printed in color
for 50 percent more than the black and white price.
Your Senior By Advertising in Denebola
Attention parents of seniors! Congratulate your son
or daughter on graduating with a Senior Ad in Newton South's Official School
newspaper, Denebola, in its award-winning, 64-page graduation issue! Offering
the largest-sized ads of any Newton South publication, Denebola's graduation
issue will not only be distributed at graduation and in school, but will also
be mailed home! Prices start at $65, and we will design your ad for FREE! You
can also include as many pictures as you'd like at no extra charge!
Pricing and Sizes
Back page (11 x 21 in -
*Boston Globe Size*) Full Color: $340
Full page (11 x 21 in -
*Boston Globe Size*) B&W: $260 / Color: $300
Half page (11 x 10.5
B&W: $180 / Color: $215
Quarter page (6 x 10.5
B&W: $120 / Color: $140
Four by five (4 x 5 in)
B&W: $95 / Color: $105
Business Card (3.5 x 1.75
B&W: $65 / Color: $80
Online Ad (150 x 600 pixels)
$20 with print ad
Photos (as many as you want)
Design my Ad
FREE! ALL SIZES LISTED AS WIDTH x HEIGHT
I don't even know what the yearbook and city weekly are charging, but I can promise you it's more.
You know what I haven't mentioned yet? The most costly expense of all? The dreaded SAT prep. What a frigging racket. There are a million of the professional places like Kaplan and Score and there are a lot of smaller, private tutoring business that promise more increased points than the professionals. And then there are private tutors that come to your home. Since most juniors take the SAT in June, and then again in October or November, many parents do two rounds of prep. Average prices seems to be $1500 to $3000 per course. Gulp. The schools all offer a prep class but it's not good. Not good at all. Too many kids, too little time, no individualized instruction.
Don't forget the college applications, which can average about $100. Some kids apply to 10 colleges. Not mine! College applications come after college trips to visit various campuses. I don't think this is necessary but I'm apparently in the minority. I never visited any of the three campuses I eventually studied at. And we didn't have the internet way back when, so the only thing we got from the college was the bulletin. It wasn't that interesting. Now there are DVDs and all sorts of web sites and discussion groups for applicants. Since most people do take the trip, don't forget to pack away some bucks for hotels, meals, gas, and college hoodies. One MUST get the hoodie.
Of course, after you've gone completely broke senior year, and are still reeling from all the end of the year activities that are picking your pocket, you kid has to choose where he or she is going to college. And you? You get to write the first of many tuition checks. Jokes on you when you see just how much this is going to cost you.
I'm thinking that plumbers, electricians, and carpenters have the right idea. Because this whole college experience is not for the weak of heart. Believe me on that!
I stayed in my daughter's apartment Friday night. La Petite, age 22, is in college and lives in a place suitable for, well, college kids. Once in a while, she and her roommate clean the place. Sometimes.
The kitchen usually isn't too bad. The girls like to eat, they cook decent food (the boys down the hall drool with envy), and they wash their dishes. They've even been known to wash dishes by hand because the dishwasher and the town's hard water leave the glasses looking, in college-girl terms, grungy.
But the bathroom -- the bathroom. It's an adventure. The landlord replaces parts with no regard for color matching, resulting in this bathroom "decor" experience. Mint green toilet with a white seat, a sort of goldenrod for the tub and shower, and a 60s style shade (does it have a name?) for the floor - and remember, that's when it's clean.
The bedrooms are in fairly decent shape. If the laundry is growing its own compost, I won't see it. She hides it in the closet, and for that I'm grateful, even though I think she really hides the hamper to keep the pet rabbit from chewing holes in the sweaters. She admitted something I'd known for a long time; she doesn't make her bed or tuck in the sheets any more. It's okay, kid, I'm not giving you an allowance based on home chores, either. Just keep passing your classes, okay? I'm not sure anyone dusts the light fixtures; hopefully they don't need it. Maybe now that the ducks and geese have flown north for springtime someone can spare a feather duster... at least the CFL bulbs help keep her electric bills down.
She's a college senior with a full course load and more; following Fly Lady's cleaning tips isn't on her agenda. Frankly, it's not on mine, either. Spotless it isn't, but whose home is? It was quite comfortable and fun to visit with her.
The original of this post is at Compost Happens. It was written before the visit. And if you're wondering, her preparations for the Italy trip are going smoothly. I'm not sure if she'll buy a skirt or bring disposable underwear, but she welcomes (okay, I welcome) the advice!
You're 22 and about to travel abroad. I know you're well schooled in the subject of travel. But I'm still your mother, and my $$ are paying the tuition to send you there, so I need to share. (OMG, did I just pull the "I'm paying your bills, so listen to me" card? I'm turning into an old fart!) But anyway, daughter, you'll ignore what you don't like and you'll choose to follow what you do like, so we're even. Okay? Here goes.
The packing list has suggestions for what to bring and what not to bring. Your friend's comment that "this must have been created by a guy" is not so far off. It doesn't address womanly packing such as, well, bras. Feminine products. (Did I just say "feminine products?" OMG, I'm turning into my MIL!) That kind of thing. I'll add a few simple and frugal suggestions.
Bar soap. You can use a tiny bar of soap to wash yourself and wash your clothes. Scrub underwear or bra, rinse it, then let the garment dry overnight. (Did I just say garment? OMG, where did that come from?!) A small Tide to Go pen will be handy, too. Wearing clothes three or four times at least will save you a lot of space in the travel pack, and if you can clean them in a hostel's sink, each piece will go farther.
You thought you packed lightly for France in your senior year. Honey, you took a huge suitcase and packed it to the brim for a two week trip. This journey is three weeks long, and you'll be carrying a much smaller backpack and a heavy camera bag. You dress in layers, I know. But can you re-use those layers a few times? Bring one tank that'll go under everything. Okay, two. Then the tees or the button down shirts. Keep it plain, simple, tops that'll go with every pair of capris and pants that you bring.
Pants? You'll be in Italy. In May. Should be warm, shouldn't it? Can you do without denim altogether? It'll keep your backpack lighter, and you'll be able to feel dressy if you need to without carrying extra trousers. (Did I just say trousers? OMG, I'm watching too much What Not to Wear!)
Shoes: I won't go there. You're the shoe queen; you'll choose what you'll choose.
Adaptor: definitely share with a friend. If you can borrow Grandma's adaptor again, maybe a friend will carry it for you since you'll have your heavy camera. You can share pics with the group after the trip in exchange for that favor. It's not bragging to say your photos will likely be better than anyone else's.
But in general, dear daughter, I know you. Your tendency is to procrastinate, wait until the absolute last minute, and then end up spending more than you need to or packing unnecessary miscellaneous junk. So if you take no other advice, take this one: plan sooner rather than later. In fact, do it NOW. (Did I just say NOW? I meant it!)
Tonight, just for the heck of it, I looked at the Google search results for MCMM. Besides learning that people can be really strange, I see that I'm not alone in thinking that teenage boys are disgusting. Take a look at the top seraches for today.
mid century moms
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Should I let my sexually active daughter and boyfriend be alone together?
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kids with Skin hunger?
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"getting a bra"
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the road test cannot be taken with a car that has a center console without a
Hmmmm. Who is Fred Braun anyhow? And why do we want his shoes? And why ARE teenage boys really disgusting when they get to their teenage year? Does anyone have any insight into that little conundrum? Because I'm thinking that a firehose aimed directly at MY teenage boy might, just might get him clean enough to go on college tours next week.
Oh the things you learn on college tours. About yourself, about your kid, about the world. Yes, we're back from a road trip up "nawth" to check out three colleges that couldn't be more different. One, a technically oriented school in downtown Philadelphia, another, a cozy, small liberal arts college in the middle of nowhere, PA (OK, an hour from Philly, but in truth, the middle of nowhere), the third, a major research university in an upstate NY city in the snow belt.
Full disclosure. I can't afford full tuition for any of these schools. It's going to be all about financial aid, loans and merit scholarships. Mex is only required by our divorce decree to pay for 1/2 the tuition of a GA State University -- roughly $2,167.00, and with our state's "HOPE" scholarship program, any kid who graduates with a B+ average and maintains it in college, gets to go to a state university tuition free. So with a HOPE under his belt, Mex and I would only be splitting the cost of room and board. It would be like winning the lottery. So yes, Grumble is applying to 2 GA state schools -- one enthusiastically, the other, a rah-rah football campus with huge classes, with grim resignation. We just have to. It would be insane not to.
Logic would compel me to limit him to state schools only, but I'm a northern girl, and Jewish to boot, and this is Georgia -- land of football, beer, fraternities and mediocrity in education. So I just feel it's my duty to try to expose him the same options I offered my older son, pre-divorce. It might not be realistic, but it's a justice issue for me. Unfortunately Mex is not earning what he used to, and that is putting it kindly. We'll do the best we can, we'll try to cover our bases.
But heck, I'm not your average dumb ass Mom, I'm a former college admissions rep -- I know this game and how it's played. I know it will require massive financial aid, loans, contacts and miracles and finessing relationships to pull this off. I am riveted on whatever it takes to make my kid a "special case," and with a little coaching from Margalit, I'll do everything in my power, even it means being the Mom from hell, to advocate for a bright-enough but not super-star white kid w/o resources. It's not going to be easy, but our road trip was part of the learning curve -- a "wake up call" on what I need to do. I only hope I haven't raised expectations too high. We talked about this a lot during the car time...there was lots of car time. I think he knows the bitter truth.
My Truth: I don't care if Grumble doesn't apply to any of the schools we visited this week. Aside from spending some quantity time with the boy cousins in suburban Philadelphia, my only agenda was to expose Grumble to three outstanding schools that he liked and that are all different. I wanted him to build up a vocabulary of colleges, to see things beyond his adopted city Atlanta and the GA State system where he will also have to apply.
The car time was great. The actual driving (limited to me because of rental car regs) was horrible, but the opportunity to have 5 hours alone with my kid in a car with XM Radio was golden. We will never forget listening to comedy channels, Grateful Dead channels, and 70's Rock, scrounging around Syracuse looking for vittles and stumbling on real Italian family cuisine -- which you simply cannot find in the south because there's no critical mass of Catholics. (no pun intended) That Italian meal in Syracuse was expensive because every plate was meant for sharing, but two entrees a shared sfogliatelle and a double espresso later, we were in heaven, remembering all the things we miss about the north because we now live in the south.
OK, so here are some of the things I learned about marketing (my profession) a $50,000+ product called college: This is Marketing 101 with the full court press. They want you to feel like a small toad, who is begging for admission. They talk to you in the fanciest place on campus. They love bomb you with t-shirts, passes to the food court, and exposure to the peppiest, happiest, most successful students they have to be tour guides. Caveat emptor. Buyer beware!
Keep your eyes open. At that urban Philadelphia campus I couldn't help but notice the proliferation of emergency "call boxes" around the campus. An urbanite myself, I wasn't freaked out about it, but ultimateIy discerned that this was a major "talking point" to be massaged by the Admissions Staff and the adorable tour guides.
Tour Guides: They ARE ALL ADORABLE. They pick the coolest, most successful, charming, ethnically diverse kids to do this job. You will love them. Your kid will love them. I'm a marketer...I would do this too.
Surprising Fact: Colleges publish the Crime Report in their newpapers, because they HAVE TO. The Jeane Cleary Campus Security Act makes it a law. Since 1992, all colleges have been required by to compile
annual statistics about crime on their campuses and to provide them to
their students and staff members. Even the cute little college in the middle of nowhere had a crime blotter in the campus newspaper. Shit happens.
And so my dear Mid-Century Moms, I'm reporting in from the road of life. College is upon us. We're doing the best we can down here. What's your story?
I think the first miracle is the countless ways the word is spelled; Channukah, Chanukkah, Hanukkah, Hannukah. The last one is still my favorite. Although nothing is quite like the Ch for that hair caught in your throat sound of the Hebrew pronunciation.
Miracle #2, my daughter finally made it home from college. After 27 grueling hours (ok, maybe a hotel stay in Chicago is not all that grueling) she made it home in between the storms of the last few days. Wisconsin to NY via Chicago and Columbus. Nothing like 4 states in 2 days. She handled it like a trooper and showed how truly grown up she has begun.
Now miracle #3, this is the one I love the most. After being coaxed to make the most favorite holiday delicacy of them all, a dear friend let me in on the secret of the true miracle of Hannukah...
how your house can smell like latkes for 8 crazy days after you make them.
Now if you will excuse me I will go wash my hair for the first of many futile attempts to lose that greasy scent.