We’re almost there! My oldest child graduates from high school next month and will be off to college in August. Part of me can’t believe it’s happening, but another part of me is right there, ready to help her pack. She has had SO many ups and downs over the past 5 years or so that in some ways it feels like it’s taken us forever to get here. But here we are.
The college process was rough. My daughter only ever wanted to go to one place. My husband and I made her apply to a few colleges to be safe, but for her there was no real competition. Her heart and mind were set. It was not a school we would have chosen for her, that’s for sure. It’s a campus in a city, which puts it completely out of our suburban comfort zone. She and my husband were at odds the whole time, sometimes loudly. There were many many tears, most of them were mine to be honest. She dug in her heels and he dug in his, and I was feeling really stuck in the middle. (I will honestly say that the last two years, with her starting to drive and “go out,” and deciding on college, have been the hardest on my marriage – but that’s another post – maybe.)
In the end, money was the biggest issue. The financial aid process is truly awful. We got some financial aid from the expensive schools, but not enough, and we got NO financial aid from the cheaper state schools. Awful. We knew what we could afford, and what she wanted was more than we could afford. So she worked. And worked. And worked. For the past year she has held down a more than part-time job – some weeks working 13 days straight, some weeks working up to 30 hours in addition to school. Whenever her bosses text to ask if she can fill in for someone who is sick, she is there. Whenever they ask if she can stay late, she does. She hardly ever goes out with friends, and when she does it’s not to shop or go to concerts – they hang out at each other’s houses or go to a diner. The end result is that my daughter saved up enough money this year to pay the difference between what we could afford and what it was going to cost, all the while taking two AP classes and making honor roll twice (once she missed it by getting a C+, and last marking period we don’t know yet). Her work ethic puts me to shame, and I’m in awe, and so proud.
So she’s going to her dream school. Next year we hope and pray she can be a Resident Assistant so her room will be paid for. Then we can breathe easier. But for now, I’m just trying to ride her wave of happiness, and praying this school is everything she hopes it will be.