Monday, November 18, 2013

What I Learned in The Last American College Tour

No blogging for several days as I was on the road checking out the last two American colleges/universities my daughter will be applying.  Now that this part of the adventure is over (we still have to visit one last Canadian school), I thought I would consider what we have learned over the past couple of months and over the past few days.
  • The tour guides, always undergrads, are pretty amazing.  They have been trained well to get out all the facts and stuff that we are supposed to hear, and this can be quite a lot of stuff.  They give good, pretty honest answers about their places.  My fave question to ask: what is the one thing you would change about this place?  A few whiffed, but most had an interesting response.  
  • I don't know what has made a bigger imprint on me: teaching at research universities or having gone to a liberal arts college?  Either way, I have a pretty strong preference for where my daughter goes to school, unless she decides to save big bucks by going to a university in Canada.  Oh, and that preference may break my wallet, but I do think the smaller environment is much better.
  • Wesleyan wins the award for the hardest university bookstore to find.  
  • Teen Spew looks young, but not any younger than many of the other prospective students.
  • NYC is a pretty amazing place
    • However, folks are not so casual about movie stars.  Sure, I took a few surreptitious photos of Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts while we all ate chinese food in Chinatown, but I knew not to approach them.  Other folks?  Not so much.  

    • Central Park is pretty fantastic.  We had great weather, so a friend of mine (who I had not seen since graduation from high school) and his two dogs took us around much of the park.  We had been to the park before but only in the south and only briefly.  This tour through the hills and paths and fields and gardens was pretty special.
      • Speaking of special, we learned that the danger of proposing in a public place like this might not be that the lady says no, but that some kid might end up playing with your props. 
  • I may have a copyright suit on my hands as one of the sundaes as the Big Gay Ice Cream Store in Greenwich Village features awesome sauce:

  • We learned that Clark Gregg, who plays Agent Coulson in the Avengers movie and Agent of Shield is not only a screenwriter (What Lies Beneath) but also married to Jennifer Grey.  Fun podcast with the Nerdist folks.  
  • While I snarked back at folks who said how cool it was for me to have this bonding experience with my daughter (I am pretty sure we are quite bonded already), it was fun to hang out with Teen Spew and see how she reacted to the various places, what questions she had, and how intent she was to figure this stuff out.  I could not help but realize that this is the last year of our time together, and I will miss her very much.  But cast her out in the world I must.  
  • Where will she go?  We have no clue.  But we did rule some places out over the past couple of months.  It is fun to watch the swings in the process--where the schools say "pick me, pick me" and then turn it around with the applications to my daughter saying "pick me, pick me" and then next spring, after whichever ones say yes to her, they will say "pick me ..."  It will be continue to be a pretty stressful year even though I know that in some ways it does not really matter--she can transfer if she is unhappy and college is very much what you make of it.  So, I have few doubts about Teen Spew being happy and excelling.  Still, the stakes seem huge to her at this point.  In the immortal words of Mr. Miyagi, don't forget to breathe.

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