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Thursday, March 10, 2011

College Matrix a la Mom

My daughter just finished up a search for a college. She hasn’t chosen yet, but I don’t even care what the outcome is. The search is over. Now I can sit back, unpack my suitcase, organize my collection of single-serving hotel shampoo bottles, manicure kits and shower caps I’ll never use, and start working on my chart.

We had a lot of fun traveling through five states, looking at seven schools. Well, I had fun. I got to be the chaperon/agent while she had to audition and take tests. She performed for auditions in front of people with furrowed brows and clipboards; and I hit the doughnut table. She had to remember her music and special-ordered, handmade reeds; I had to remember my toothbrush. She had to carefully get her instrument onto the plane without having big people with big suitcases smash it to smithereens; I had to remember where we left our car in the airport garage. She had to wear her semi-semi-formal black pants, black sweater, black flats; I got to wear all my favorite winter clothes that haven’t been out of mothballs since I moved to Florida.

But now she gets to sit back and wait for the offers to come in. And my work begins. I have to start working on my chart.

My chart will list the pros and cons, costs and curriculum of each school. It will be all official and academic and boring and then, at the end, I’ll add a column of my own - things that made an impression on me when we visited.

School #1
- has Miles Davis’ trumpet in a glass case in the main music building atrium. (Yay!) Also a tour guide told us great stories about when Miles’ family all got together for the first time in said atrium and there was all kinds of juicy antics that ensued. Lots of different offspring by lots of different women make for great stories while standing around the trumpet case. The tour guide gets extra points for telling us  something interesting on a tour of a building.

School #2
- is warm and I won’t get to wear any of my Ireland clothes. (Boo!) But I also won’t have to buy my daughter a whole new winter wardrobe. (Yay!) Four more years of flip-flops and tank tops make for a great school uniform.

School #3
- is in an awesome area with great restaurants. This school gets extra points for providing me with the best two dinners I had during the entire college search. Already knowing where to go get food when I’m visiting my daughter is a plus. (Yay!)

School #4
- I got yelled at - yes, yelled at - when I started to open a door that I thought was the coat room. Oh, I don’t know, maybe because there was a sign that said COAT ROOM THIS WAY with an arrow pointing to the door. After yelling at me and then hearing my explanation, the lady with the walkie-talkie harumphed and turned the sign around and did not say she was sorry. (Boo!) I didn’t make a fuss, but only because my daughter whispered to me as we walked away, “Don’t screw things up for me here, Mom, m‘kay?”

School #5
- Professor mentioned that he reads my blog. (Yay!)

School #6
- has a nearby Doubletree where I’m now a frequent flier. Warm cookie at check-in. (Yay!)

School #7
- James Franco goes to school here, although he goes to school everywhere, doesn’t he? Still, the people-watching at the campus Starbucks brings a lot to the table. (Yay!)

These things may not even be considered when she’s choosing a school, but I think it’s important to put it all out there. Perspective is good.

Also, cookies are good, which is why I’m plugging School #6.

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