I had the following true, heartfelt conversation the other day with our 19-year-old daughter, Emma.
We were in my car. I was driving her to an appointment when the conversation occurred. Here is that conversation:
Me: I know you’ve had fun being with your mom and me for the past month, but admit it, you’re getting eager to be back to college with your friends.
Emma: I was eager to get back to college with my friends on the first day I came home.
Me: Yeah, but you enjoyed spending time with your mom and me, right?
Emma: If you say so.
I worry sometimes that Emma is too sentimental.
Actually, I was glad to hear that Emma can’t wait to get back to college. The fact that she can’t wait to get back tells me that she enjoys college. I would feel terrible if we had to drag Emma, kicking and screaming, back to college.
I was in college a long time ago, and although I didn’t always enjoy every minute of it, I did enjoy most it.
Mainly, I didn’t enjoy the part about college where I had to go to class. But the other part, the part where I got to have fun, I enjoyed immensely. In fact, it was pointed out to me while I was in college that if I had enjoyed the part about college where I had to go to class half as much as I enjoyed the part where I got to have fun, I might have done better in college than I did.
“So how did you do in college?” some of you are asking.
To some of you asking that, I will say, “What do you think?”
To which some of you are probably thinking, “Not well. Not well at all.”
Some of you are right.
But unlike me, Emma is doing pretty well with the going-to-class part of college. She is also, from what I can gather by some of her comments, doing pretty well with the having-fun part of college.
Here is what Emma said about her upcoming first week of school: “It’s great. It’s syllabus week. We don’t do anything in class, so everybody goes out at night.”
Speaking of night: Emma has a night class in the upcoming semester. The night class is in a part of campus far away from the main campus. A couple of months ago, Emma told me she wasn’t sure if she could take a campus bus to her night class or if she needed to get a parking pass for her car.
So the other day, after our heartfelt conversation, I said, “What about that night class? Did you …”
“No,” Emma said. “And quit bugging me about it. You’re stressing me out. I’ll figure it out. Gosh.”
I don’t know what I was thinking in asking Emma if she knew how she was going to get to a night class less than a week before the semester starts. Gee, what a nag.
So I changed the subject.
“What about the other class on the west campus?” I said.
“Stop it. I’ll figure it out,” Emma said.
I can see that. When I was in college a long time ago, I didn’t worry much about finding my classes, either. I sort of figured things out as I went along.
That’s what college is all about: figuring things out as you go along.
College isn’t a time for detailed planning. The time for detailed planning will come along soon enough, so until it does, you should enjoy figuring things out as you go along.
I think that’s why Emma is eager to get back to school: to figure things out as she goes along.
Even though I’m sure she had fun spending time with her mom and me.