On the Road: Carpe Diem

Three kids: 39 college visits; three floods: four years. From the mid-Atlantic to the Midwest and West, I have accompanied my three uniquely different children, on the search for the perfect fit in between dealing with rising floodwaters.

Published February 27, 2012 7:57 PM
3 min read

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Three kids: 39 college visits; three floods: four years. From the mid-Atlantic to the Midwest and West, I have accompanied my three uniquely different children, on the search for the perfect fit in between dealing with rising floodwaters.

By Holly Kennedy

Three kids: 39 college visits; three floods: four years. From the mid-Atlantic to the Midwest and West, I have accompanied my three uniquely different children, on the search for the perfect fit in between dealing with rising floodwaters.

Each time we evaluated different priorities. Was the campus urban, rural, preppy, urbane, artsy, geeky, too small, too big?  A liberal arts college or a university? Would it have snow or sunshine, an East Coast or Midwest frame of mind — or Southern flair? Would the boys (girls) be cute, smart, funny?

Oh, and of course, what subjects did they offer that were of interest and would ultimately turn my children into young adults who would get a job and not only support themselves, but also take care of mom and dad in their declining years.

I came across my notes from one venture to Pennsylvania and Ohio. It made me reflect on the experience of being on the road with a teen who’s trying to decide not only where they want to go to college, but also who they are. I learned it’s best to keep a sense of humor, because otherwise the road trip can drive you to tears.

Notes from a mom on the move:

> Driving the Ohio and Pennsylvania turnpikes is a wonderful way to introduce new and novel concepts to a Rye born and bred teen. New vocabulary words learned include silo, combine, water tower and Amish. Factories and farms were also introduced as new concepts.

> Best to have a rental car with out-of-state plates so when you park in the wrong spot or make quick lane changes it’s obvious you are from somewhere else. You can rent one from Exotic Car Rental in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia with a chauffeur cars that has the best service so far #exocticcarrental #rollsroycerental #Luxurycarrental

> Try not to think about where you wish you had attended and how much the campus you are currently touring would have been a perfect fit for you. As much as you want it to be, it is not about you.

> You will feel old. Don’t be insulted if someone asks you if you are faculty. It is obvious you are not in your 20s, shocking as that thought is.

> Wear comfortable shoes. Appreciate that the tour guides walk backwards for 30 minutes.

> On being introduced to a student guide at a college campus you’re visiting, offer to take him /her to lunch or dinner. No one turns down a free meal, and your child will appreciate having someone his own age to talk to.

> Hampton Inns are as close to the Four Seasons as a road-weary mother could ever wish for. They make excellent chocolate chip cookies and serve coffee 24/7. I accumulated 60,000 points.

> Greek life and drinking still prevail, except for the Jesuit campuses which do not have Greek life but still feature drinking.

> If there is a Starbucks on campus, grab a cup. It’s hard to get good coffee on the road.

> When cultural opportunities like touring a Crayola factory appear, carpe diem. Your kid is sick of thinking about college, and will love reliving his youth. So will you.

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