College Days

I had lunch yesterday with our eldest grandchild Adelaide. She’s 17 and will rule the world some day. I know we all say that about our grandchildren, but with Addie, it’s true. She could, in fact, rule the world right now at age 17.

Anyhoo, over sushi, she shared her thoughts on her high school senior year that she has now entered, and beyond. Despite her intelligence, she too is unable to see into the future and tell us what the next year will be like. COVID-19, donchaknow. She and her siblings are attending school virtually right now, but, fingers crossed, they will enter the school sometime in October. At least, she thinks so, and — see above — she could rule the world.

She has already applied at several colleges recently, including two in AZ and one in Montana. She will be applying to University of Colorado and Colorado State University very soon. Most interesting (at least to me), she is applying to the military academies. I seriously think she will be accepted to all of the schools to which she applies, including the academies.

“Nana,” she said. “There are ups and downs to the military academies. The up side is I’m certain we would be going to real live school. The down side is that should things go south with COVID, I would probably be in lockdown for a long time.”

Wise beyond her years, just as I said.

When I got home from lunch, I began thinking about my life at age 17 regarding my future. There was no talk about me not going to college. Higher education was assumed. I never dreamed of going anywhere but the University of Nebraska, because that’s where my father had gone, and from where my sister graduated. And, well, I was raised on GO BIG RED.

By the summer before entering college, I had purchased my red attire for the football games. However, I didn’t have the slightest idea about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Because at 17 years old, I was certainly not as grown up as is Addie. I was unable to think outside the box. I knew I liked to write, but I thought that I had to become something with a name. A teacher. A lawyer. A nurse. Since lawyer and nurse were out of the question, I reckoned I had to be a teacher. I declared my major to be Human Development, and decided I wanted to be a preschool teacher. I liked little kids.

My freshman year in college. Who knew what was ahead?

So I applied for a work/study job in the university daycare center, where I cared for 3-year-olds. They were very, very cute. But after about three weeks, I knew I was not cut out to be a preschool teacher. I had no other ideas. I dropped out of college after my sophomore year, not the least because I simply couldn’t see into my future.

My story has a decent ending. I eventually returned to college, and received a degree in journalism. Writing is what I loved, and writing is what I did.

Addie isn’t clear on what she wants to be when she grows up either. The difference is, she knows she doesn’t have to have that answer today. Or tomorrow. Or next year. The answer will come.

Bless all of the high school seniors who are facing decisions during this difficult time. Prayers, prayers, prayers.

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