Day 59: School daze

I’ve just returned from a day of student orientation and advising at the university my niece will be attending in the fall. My sister’s a single mom and I was very happy to be able to go with them to lend support (along with notebooks and pens, which I knew they’d both forget to bring, sheesh).

When we arrived, my niece deadpanned, “Guess I’ll be the girl with two moms.” (I quickly pointed out there was bound to be someone there with two dads.)

It was an exciting day full of promise, paperwork and more paperwork.

I attempted no big gestures today, just tried to be generally considerate and polite and stand at the back during the tours to let the students and “real” parents get a closer look at the dorm rooms and common areas.

My sister and I attended an interesting lecture about how times have changed on campus since my generation packed up our milk crates and headed off for university back in the pre-cyberspace Stone Age.

Not only have electric typewriters been replaced by wireless laptops, but prescriptions such insulin and antibiotics have been joined by a sharp rise in Ritalin, anti-depressants and psychotropic meds. The good news is that kids previously held back from pursuing post-secondary education because of learning disabilities or mental illness, now feel well enough to take on the pressures and challenges of university.

I kept this in mind throughout the day as I looked at the fresh, untroubled faces around me.

It was a poignant day for me for another reason. I kept thinking about a dear friend who passed away in February. Her daughter is also going to university this fall and I couldn’t stop thinking about them both. About how they would have been spending the day together at a similar event if only fate had dealt them a better hand.

So even though I had to hit the road at dawn, sit in a stuffy lecture hall for three hours and drink cold, bitter coffee, I soaked in every moment.


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