Surviving College Admissions Season Intact

july-016It’s almost that time of year when high school seniors and their parents assault mail carriers in hopes of receiving a coveted fat envelope bearing an Early Decision “Yes” that promises “Life will turn out well.”  It’s that simple, the college admissions guarantee.  

At least at this juncture.  It was supposedly equally simple when said senior got into the right preschool and the right progression of other opportunities to bring him or her to this golden moment — acceptance into the right college (which will lead to the right law school, the right firm and ultimately the very best nursing home).

Only it’s a big, fat lie.  

My own father tried to talk me out of going to college back in 1978.  He felt that I would get a better education by taking the money he would have spent on a private education and using it to travel around the world and “hopefullly get lost and have to find (my) way back home.”  I was sure that I needed the socialization of college (I was a tad intolerant) and that my degree would open doors that a Eurorail stub would not.  I was probably wrong.

Since I went on to “earn” 7 D’s and 1 F in four short years, it would seem that my daddy was right. I didn’t get an education then. I spit back some memorized facts, overslept, wasted time and tried to grow up. It was simply a place-holder in my life, a holding pattern until the next thing happened.  In fact I’m not sure I did much growing up until I was almost 40 (and at that point it’s messier to do with a husband and children watching).  Better to wander around a bit when one is young than to walk lockstep through unexamined pathways because it’s the right thing to do.  Or to be disappointed when the guaranteed pathways don’t deliver what they seemed to promise.

My own children are relieved when they hear about my circuitous path to adulthood.  There’s a lot of freedom in knowing that there’s not only one way to grow up, or to live.  And in knowing that your mother, who more or less functions normally, was a goofball (and it doesn’t much matter now).

And there’s a lot of freedom in realizing that we were born for a much grander adventure than Cornell Early Decision and that God will provide straight roads, crooked highways, mountain-tops and deep valleys for our journeys.  And that there are a lot of detours to enjoy and a lot of scenic overlooks along the highway to the nursing home

There’s no wrong path.  Like the disembodied voice on my GPS says when I choose a path she didn’t recommend, we can always be “recalculating.”

One can always get there from here.  Leave the mail carrier alone.

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~ by Cary on November 26, 2008.

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