College

 

Being here sounds passive, but sometimes it’s anything but. Big changes are happening in our family again and it involves all the feels.  We dropped our youngest daughter off at college last week and while it was a seamless process it definitely looked a little different than it did when we took our oldest some years back.

Prior to our arrival, she had to choose a time slot for move in and had to register for the Covid-19 test.  Once on campus, she had to go directly to the tent associated with her dorm to be tested.  Actually, the kids had to swab themselves ( I know, it sounds inappropriate, but that is what they had to do) and the how to video made me laugh so hard.  I couldn’t imagine what could go wrong as they were unwrapping a sterile swab while not touching it, swabbing each nostril 4 times all while holding the label with their name and the sterile sealed tube that needed to be unsealed after the swab, put into the tube then broken at the halfway point and resealed.  Then they are told that they would receive an encrypted email within 24-48 hours.  We are almost at a week and have yet to hear any results.  This is the first day of class after 5 days of move-ins, so it feels a moot point as of now.  These kids have been all over campus and the town, but that’s a whole other topic.

 

The move in was so quiet and easy.  We were there for hours and there was not another soul on the floor.  No fighting for moving carts, elevators or long lines for the stairs.  We had her moved in after just two trips on the elevator.  We counted that as huge win!

 

Once inside, it was the typical chaos of clothes, putting together shelves, getting the TV and printer set up and the bed made before the obligatory move in lunch in the new college town.  Old Town, Fort Collins did not disappoint with a huge selection of restaurant choices.  I think I am going to be quite happy visiting on a regular basis.

 

Now onto the feels.  Being here for this moment is hard.  All of you parents who have left your kids in a new town, for whatever reason, understand the difficulty of saying goodbye.  You understand that it’s the next chapter in their lives, but that does not make it any easier.  Our job is quite literally to raise them up so they can fly on their own and yet our temptation sometimes is to grab onto one of their little legs and hold on for dear life.

I thought I was ready.  I knew she was unsure, but still moving forward.  This season has not been easy for anyone, but these kids who basically left their high schools back in March without much ado are now trying to navigate a world in which they have only ever heard about from their older siblings and friends. These kids haven’t even had a proper orientation and now they are moving into their dorms under the most restrictive circumstances imaginable.  Virtual college welcomes and zoom meet ups are the norm.  Masks are required and meals need to be pre-ordered.  I counted it as a win when she had her first meal from the dining hall.  She has a mix of classes that are in person, online and hybrid and she is preparing the best she can while simultaneously wondering if they will be on lockdown before the first week is over.

 

She was a little homesick at first and deep down she was secretly hoping they would get sent back home. Home feels safe.  Those of us who have done this before know that if they can just stick it out, adjust to this new life, make new friends and begin to take classes they will grow, they will thrive and they will indeed fly.

But it’s been a tough transition for these freshmen. It looks very different this year. There have been no big welcomes, concerts, dorm meetings or large group gatherings. In fact, they are discouraging even leaving your door open.  She and her roommate are doing their best to stay busy and follow the guidelines, but sometimes they feel a little isolated.  Fortunately,  she has been able to hang out, have dinner and explore the campus with some of her HS friends who are in the same situation.  It has helped bridge the gap from home to college and after a couple of days she was pretty happy.  In fact, she really hopes they don’t get sent home!  I hope she continues to feel that way as she begins her classes this week.

I’m not going to lie though, the stress over sending our youngest daughter off to college has felt different this time around for us, too. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions and there have been more challenges, but the reality is NONE of us have launched a child in the midst of a global pandemic.  Most of us have probably never moved our adult child into a dorm and wondered if they would be moving them out in a week. We don’t know if we did the right thing.  We are just trying to do what feels right, right now. We are in uncharted territory and as the president of my daughter’s university stated, “you have a choice. You can either strictly comply with all of the health protocols we have put in place to mitigate the transmission of the coronavirus on campus or you can face that very real possibility that your lack of compliance could be responsible for ending on-campus operations.”

I will admit, it’s more than slightly scary that 20,000+ 18-22 year-olds are responsible for whether they get to stay on campus. I’m not a betting woman, but if I were, I’d say I’ll get to see her again real soon!

Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G

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