Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The agony and the ecstasy...

For all you parents of high school seniors out there — I feel your pain.
We are all going through our own version of March Madness: the agony of waiting for college admission letters.
This is the month that most of our students will get the coveted big envelope or the dreaded little envelope in the mail. I don’t have to tell you which one is better.
Our seniors spent hours writing those essays, gathering letters of recommendation, transcripts, writing “resumes,” adding up SAT and ACT scores, and making lists of any achievements, big or small.
We parents spent God-knows-how-much on application fees. We spent yet more money to send those SAT or ACT scores on to those colleges. We Fed-Ex’d or sent their applications through registered mail. And then we sat back. And waited. And then waited some more.
It’s pure torture. We parents have been planning their lives for 18 years. We are attempting to plan their next four years. We cannot do that if we don’t get the “Yea” or “Nay” that we’re waiting for.
At our house, my husband haunts the mailbox. I’m sure the mailman is starting to wonder exactly what kind of “special delivery” he is anxiously looking for.
He also monitors email for the moment any college replies with any kind of news. Note to “Large University”: We don’t care about your graduation speaker, new symposium or your dining commons menu. Just tell us if she’s in or not.
Meanwhile, we try to keep our 12th-graders from coming down with Senioritis. Many of our seniors have mentally already moved on to visions of graduation parties, senior trips or getting the heck out of Dodge/Napa. They are so over anything to do with parents, sisters and making their beds. Unfortunately, the vaccine for this illness is only available after graduation day.
I thought once the applications were done, we’d have a break from college. What I didn’t know was that once you’re done with college applications, you pretty much move right on to scholarship applications. Unless you have a rich uncle or a trust fund, scholarships are a must.
They require more transcripts, more letters of recommendation and more essays. Some scholarships seem like an obvious fit. Others may not be. Our daughter reluctantly applied for one scholarship from an Italian social group.
We’re not Italian, she said.
I was one step ahead of her. I’d already asked Grandpa Bob to dig into his genealogy files. I had the facts.
Yes, you are, I said. Your great-great-grandfather Dominic Roulleri, who came to the U.S. in the mid-1800s, was born in Genoa, Italy. That counts.
But I don’t know what to write about being Italian, she said. I don’t speak Italian. I took French.
Use your imagination, I said. Think of what it must have been like for him coming to the U.S. with no family and no job.
He was a printer, I said. Maybe he wanted to be an animator like you.
She looked skeptical.
They didn’t have animators back then, Mom, she said.
Just apply, I said.
Who knows, maybe Walt Disney was 1/16 Italian too.

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