Today was the sophomore parent coffee. If you haven’t been to a parent coffee, it’s a chance for mothers (and a few fathers) to gather, drink lots of coffee, and fidget while PTSA officers and school administrators tell you all the stuff you’re supposed to be doing, but aren’t.
Because these meetings only add to my to-do list, I tend to steer clear. My son is well equipped to navigate school on his own, our lines of communication are open, and the school sends an almost unhealthy dose of performance data to parents on a weekly basis. Anyhow, my son is a terrible liar. I know something is up at school the minute he walks in the door.
However, he is a little oblivious to official information. We’ve gotten texts from our son like “U have to be at drver ed thing at 7:30 tonight, get more cookies plz” more times than I can count. So, since they were going to be talking about graduation requirements, assessment testing and college selection, I figured this particular coffee might be a good one to go to.
The coffee started off with the obligatory speech about all of the things we need to give the PTSA money for, followed by complaints about electronic textbooks, and a reiteration of the dress code. I tuned out at that point, because I have a son and not a daughter. Apparently backpacks have an interesting effect on short skirts.
Then the fun began. We were introduced to a college information portal that our son is supposed to start populating with data. It includes a Myers-Briggs test, a learning style assessment, a resume builder, career information and a college database. They talked about the pre-preSATs and prep classes and tutors, and that California colleges require at least one credit of fine arts, and that the average GPA of UVA applicants from our school is 4.5.
I resisted the urge to run out of the room screaming “I’m not ready!” If I had, I probably would have had a bunch of mothers come running after me, saying “Wait for me! I’m not ready either!” I imagine we’d forget the coffee and go straight for Chardonnay (Generally we’d choose a nice Pinot Noir, but it is only 10:00 a.m).
I do not remember my parents being this overwhelmed by the process. Then again, they had four kids, so they’d been around the block before I came to the plate. I have no doubt my son will go to college. It just feels like he has to make bigger decisions earlier in their life than I had to. Given that he and his friends have problems picking a movie, selecting a college seems insurmountable.
But that is my way. Freak out, cry in the shower, take a run, make a plan. I know we’ll get through it, he’ll find the right college, the right path, at least for now, then he’ll turn 40 and wonder what the hell he was thinking. At least if he’s anything like me.
Words by J. B. Everett
Photograph by Bottled Void © 2008 Creative Commons