Thursday, November 29, 2012
Helping Your Child Select A College
When my oldest son finished his junior year in high school, he’d already fallen victim to high-pressure marketing campaigns perpetrated by American universities – plus one from Sydney, Australia.
The more considerate institutions of higher tuition even enclosed applications for student loan sharks for his convenience.
Meanwhile, my son was so pacific, he had no clue what he wanted to study. (His own mother, after all, had felt no pressure to make a hasty career choice. After four decades.)
But when 8X10 glossies started to arrive featuring bikini-intensive women sprawled across ocean-front campuses, the kid got restless to pick an ocean.
One afternoon, as he sifted through the latest barrage of mailbox propaganda, he asked me soulfully to share with him – as his professional mother – my opinion of his talents. I was touched. So before I rendered an opinion, I consulted my recipe files.
Now, I’m not being flippant about my ‘professional mother status.’ I don’t even read recipes or cook in any traditionally–accepted way. So long ago, I converted this vacant file box to a Quote Holder: a repository in which to store memorable utterances my kids spouted while growing up. Things like, “Mom, what’s a ‘kosh’?”
“A ‘kosh’!? I don’t know. Spell it.”
“You know, like when you throw ‘kosh’ into the wind.” Like that.
I figured a glimpse at this son’s extra-lengthy section might lend insight into his aptitude and interests, from which a handful of college majors might spring.
Together, we reviewed years of his razor-sharp whimsy, then brainstormed for careers in the following manner: “Mom, take a look at this one: In first grade I said, ‘Me and my Dad are like Father and Son.’ So whadya think? Family Therapy? Social Worker?”
“I don’t know. Grammarian?”
“Okay, honey, what about … ‘Geneticist’?”
“Cool,” he said and wrote this down.
So it went, until we had sufficient careers to put his troubled mind to rest, or we ran out of cards.
The following is the result of our work starting with quotes uttered at various developmental stages, followed by appropriate career paths.
Grade 2: “Are alligators and crocodiles enough alike to mate?”
Career Options: Biotechnology / Human Sexuality Double Major
Grade 3: “How do you pronounce our religion?”
“You mean, ‘Protestant'?"
“THAT’S it. I always get that confused with ‘prostitute.’”
Career Options: Comparative Religions, Speech Therapy
Grade 4: “Why can’t tree bark be called Tree Crust?"
Botanical Linguistics Upstart
Grade 5: “If blood is really blue then turns red when it hits the air, why is it red
when a nurse draws it through a needle from the vacuum created by an
Grade 6: “Statistically, is it possible for everyone to win the lottery if they play each day and live forever?”
Statistics / Immortality Double Major
Grade 7: “Look! I can palm my own head!”
Grade 8: Anonymous Poetry
My best friend’s not reel TALL.
I shoved his face in a WALL.
He called me DOPE
I said NOPE
Then I made him FALL.
Correctional Facility Maintenance Staff
Grade 9: “Why are there so many lawyers? My best friend wanted to be one
‘til he found out there were so many. Now he wants to be an assassin.”
Reality TV Talent Scout
Grade 10: After falling off skateboard. “Man, my lower back KILLS!”
Follow-up, same incident: Mom: “Gosh, do you want to see a chiropractor or
Son: “No, but I might want to see Terminator 2.”
Film Critic/Law, Double Major
Grade 11, Real Time: Son to brother who mistakenly sweeps Quotes off table walking by:
“Nice move, RE-boy.”
Mom: “ExCUSE me. Why is what you said wrong?”
Son: (sighs) “’ Because. . .’using a sub-group as a swear insults members of that group.’”
Mom: “Yes. And what do we say about insults?”
Son: “They’re okay as long as you use them correctly.”
Public Relations or Presidential Election-Campaign Manager
*BONUS CAREER: Son ‘noogies’ mother as she jots down a career. Mother accidentally ‘inks out’ a line.
Mom: “Watch out or I’ll write on YOU.”
His brother. “Or write more ABOUT you.”
Son: “Yeah, and get rejected.”
Entire Staff of The Atlantic
Not only were we able to come up with absolutely nothing viable, my son became so frightened by his own American childhood, he decided to apply to the Indian Ocean in Australia to major in general electives.
And so, it is clear that with a little parental understanding and teamwork, this very troubling life decision can be successfully compounded by confusion, panic, and the need to acquire a passport.
Therefore, I recommend that parents everywhere begin to cook recklessly and fill their recipe boxes with embarrassing childhood memories that eventually can be read by strangers – that your children, too, may abscond to a different country upon their high school graduation.
If there is anything else I can do for you and yours, don’t hesitate to write it down -- then burn it.