Making contact with an old friend today whose children attend the college of my daughter’s dreams made me realize how differently we experience life.
“So, Mary when your kids applied at (we’ll call Dream school) Dream were you able to obtain any merit monies?” I asked. ” Oh no, everyone at Dream pays what it costs.” BIG gulp! “You mean the price tag is the price tag?” I inquired as my heart dropped. “Well there’s financial aide but you’ll never receive that with teacher salaries.” Mary replied.
It all began last fall when my daughter Maggie and I took a trip to Ohio over a beautiful fall weekend. Four campuses were explored over the three days but only one turned out to be perfect. I agreed with Maggie. If I could, I would pack up and attend Dream college right along with her. I’d major in creative writing too and ….. She did not want to hear about this but you could see, Dream college was it. Now, I’ll have to admit my stupidity, I believed her when she had told me Dream’s tuition was the same cost as most small liberal arts colleges near our home town. Big mistake. Dream is much more costly and of course known for being more prestigious for Writing majors.
When it wasn’t my turn to drive, I spent most of the ride home on my phone researching scholarships and grants, all the while anticipating telling my husband of my mistake. I fantasized about how many more years I could add to my career in order make up the difference. Maybe we should sell our family cottage? Maybe we downsize early and …My mind raced all the while trying not to burst Maggie’s bubble.
We have yet to solve this dilemma. My husband sent me an article in the New York Times today on just this subject. How did he know I called Mary? I will describe Maggie briefly. She is a high achiever with a 4.00 plus grade point because she takes every AP course offered. She has a very good ACT score and amazingly was just notified that she earned a perfect score on the Writing section of the ACT. Maggie started a Creative Writing Club at her high school this year and leads a group of 15 aspiring writers. They take turns workshopping one another’s work. She is delighted by the fact that she has located all of the other yet- to- be discovered writers in the school and gets to hang out with them. She loves the fact that they are able to write on any topic, in any form they choose. Maggie is truly a wonderful child. She’s the kind of kid that at our school staff meeting last week my principal was demonstrating how to go on line and find the parent access when he referred the group to me. “Kim, you know how to do this. ” I felt my face go flush. I am technology challenged but that wasn’t the reason I couldn’t help him demonstrate. I’d never checked Maggie’s grades or her report card. “Maggie does that,” I responded. His turn to blush, ” Of course she does. I should of known.” He’d had Maggie as a student a few years back. I share this story only to demonstrate the type of student she is.
I’m not sure how our next year will play out. She is only a junior and so much can happen in a year. We are making the trip to Ohio again next weekend so she can participate in Junior Weekend at a back up to Dream College. We will of course make a stop at Dream on the way home. She is also waiting to see if she was accepted to a summer writing camp for high school students at Dream. So much can happen in a year.