I’m spending today sitting at a table smiling and chatting with high school students attending a college open house. They are trying to decide if they want to go to college, and if so, if they should attend my school.
They look both terrified and excited.
“Yay College! I’m getting out of the house and away from my parents!”
“Yay College! I’m getting started on a career…in the middle of a huge economic slump?”
“Yay College! Uh….how will I pay for this?”
Some seem mostly to need fashion advice. I had no idea miniskirts and Ugg boots was a thing. Or why. And that is just one of the less egregious examples of sartorial missteps. I wish I could post photos.
What I find most fascinating at these sorts of open houses is to watch all the different flavors of parenting.
When the kid is hovering behind the parent, and the parent is shooting questions at me non-stop, that is a bit of a warning. We have a term for them–helicopter parents–because they are hovering. (I also like the alternative terms “lawnmower parents” that mow down any obstacles in their kids’ paths; or “curling parents” that scoot ahead and sweep the kid’s path clean.)
The kids themselves are variously involved in the process–some clearly are mortified to be appearing in public with a parent, others are really engaged, curious, and the parents are the ones in the background. (I notice that the independent kids are often wearing FFA or 4H gear. Go Aggies!)
If you were going to advise a new high school graduate about life choices and careers, what would you tell them? What would you advise parents that need to chill out?