Last Friday evening I had dinner with ten other Moms of college freshmen. We enjoyed the opportunity to re-connect, to hear about our sons and daughters, and we reminisced. Where we were a year ago? The emotional nature of the admission process was something we all experienced and had palpable memories. We remember that for parents of high school seniors this is a time of mixed feelings:
anxious - Will our daughter meet the looming deadlines? Will she apply to schools where she will be happy and appropriately challenged?
frustrated - Why doesn’t my daughter listen to my suggestions?
awkward - How do you tell family, friends, and acquaintances --- especially over Thanksgiving turkey, that the overwhelming pressure they feel to hijack every conversation to make it about college isn’t helpful or productive?
overwhelmed - Will everything work out financially? Will she have options?
excited - What a wonderful opportunity for her.
humble - Her college choices are in no way a reflection on my parenting; this process is all about her, not me.
uncertain - Am I providing enough support? Too much input? How do we find the right balance?
pride - Wow! She’s making independent decisions, testing her wings and making her way through the maze of applications.
The college process provides a rollercoaster for both students and parents and the process at home isn’t always pretty. Emotions run high and being the parent is hard when all you want to do is throw your hands up in exasperation. The good news is that if I survived it, so can you. By the way, all eleven of our college freshmen are happily enrolled in their chosen colleges and universities and next year you will be sitting where I am now. Hang in there.