Two years ago at this time I was cashiering at a big box store and ringing kids and their parents up for college/dorm gear. I asked each one where they were going, why they were going there, their majors and what they liked best about the college of their choice. I learned about Big 10 schools like Purdue and tiny Christian colleges I'd never heard of. I was particularly interested in comments about the school my oldest wanted to attend. I ONLY heard positives about this school, including how the professors invited the kids over to their homes for dinner parties, ate lunch with their students and even gave out their home phone numbers!
Part of me was disbelieving that my son would be able to go away to school. I figured at best, he'd attend our very good local community college and transfer on for his second or Junior year. We were in the middle of selling our home for a virtual wash (I received sale proceeds only enough to move and put a down payment on an apartment home). It was an extremely difficult and despairing time for me.
But now here we are having recently returned from a long and thorough two-day orientation at that university I ONLY heard good things about. And yes it is true that the profs give out their home numbers - the university President even gave his email out with the assurance that he reads and responds to each and every one!
To go from disbelief to belief! All that worrying and fear for naught. I'm not sure I would not have been able to not worry or despair those years ago. I just wish I hadn't done so much of it. Because I think in the end, hopefully for the most part, life has a way of working out. My son is going to the college of his choice and it is an amazing fit for him. He has already been asked to be a campus student leader and to join a group of young men who escort female students across campus at night for safety. He is also already taking classes in his actual major, which thankfully are his earliest 8:00 a.m. classes so he is eager to get up and attend.
I would describe his college with these words: extremely positive, helpful and welcoming. He was accepted on Feb. 14 and between that time and now received at least 8 phone calls from current students welcoming, congratulating him and acting as a sounding board for any of his concerns or questions. All that positivity those two days at orientation really rubbed off on me. I felt so much more confident, happy and hopeful. It makes me want to be less negative and focused on all that is difficult in my life. Yes, widowhood has its challenges and I don't think I am the best suited person for this lifestyle. I have certainly struggled. But I'd like to take a cue from my son's university here and try to make the next year less of a hardship, drain and chore and more into a hopeful vision of what can be for and in my life in the future. Because in the end all that worrying, anxiety and extra 10 pounds were for nothing. What I couldn't see as happening actually did happen. How easier life would have been if despite the hardships I'd been a bit more believing and hopeful.
So now I know. I know to be more positive, hopeful and enthusiastic for my younger son entering his senior year (and doesn't have a clue where he wants to go) and myself. Because life will probably all turn out over the next year vs. it not turning out. I have learned that because it has happened and I have actual proof.