What They Don’t Tell You About College Orientation

Letting Go #11:

When the opportunity to participate in our daughter’s college orientation came up we thought, “Oh, wouldn’t it be fun to go back and relive our wild youth. Stay in the dorm overnight sharing a twin bed. Sneak out and drink beer. Break curfew. Play our stereos too loud (make that ipods). Hang out in dorm rooms with people we don’t know. Skip breakfast. Share the communal bathrooms. Arrive late to class (make that programs). Do something vaguely illegal. Ah, the college good ol’ days.”

What we got instead, was more of the same stress of preparing the offspring for THE OUTSIDE WORLD. Too many kids, too many nervous and pushy parents, too many rules, too many meetings, too many forms to fill out, too much money–not enough fun. It seems to be a recurring theme in the Y generation’s life experience.

When did the ritual of growing up become such a job? I have to say that the program was well-coordinated and the food was great. The air-conditioned dorm we stayed in was far better than anything my husband and I lived in even during grad school. I tried to have fun, I really did. But it was still a lot of work–even for the slacker parents that we are.

I came home exhausted. Maybe those college memories are way too rose-colored. Maybe my body was better prepared for that environment–back when my thyroid was functioning. Maybe I’ve blotted out all the paperwork and formalities of entering college in 1978. But darn it, I just don’t recall it being this complicated. All I remember is paying the bursar and making up my twin bed (regular size, not “extra long”), and doing my best to avoid the “Kool-aid” at the freshman mixer thoughtfully hosted by the richest frat on campus.

All I know is that this little trip down college memory lane sure wasn’t the wild overnighter that I pictured in my 49-year-old head. Gotta let go of this one in a big way. Let’s face it–nobody wants to see a middle-aged girl gone wild.

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