Monday, August 3, 2015

College Boy

TigerBlog Jr. is recovering from his shoulder surgery of nearly four weeks ago.

Since his arm is still in a sling, he can't really drive himself anywhere, and so that burden has fallen back to TigerBlog.

It's a real pain. As any parent who has ever had a child - especially an oldest child - get a license knows, there are stages that you go through along this, well, road.

First, there's the complete fear of having "your baby" behind the wheel. Then, there's the realization that this is the most convenient thing that has ever happened.

Parenting from ages 3 to 16 or so is mostly about being a driver. Here, there, everywhere. It's like 15% teaching them life lessons and 85% having to get them somewhere - sports, school events, religious education, camps, doctor's appointments, the list is endless.

And then? They can drive themselves.

It's heaven. At least, once you get past the terror part.

After that, though, it's great. And then there's the whole "drive the younger one [or ones] around."

Ah, now that's convenient.

And then it was gone for TigerBlog. It would have ended soon enough anyway, when TBJ went to college. But TB figured he'd be driving all summer at least.

And now he can't. So TigerBlog has been back to his career as a driver.

TBJ recently went to the movies. If you need to pick someone up at the movies and the movie starts at 7:40, what time do you need to get them? Even if you know how long the movie is, you don't really have a sense of how many previews there are, how long they'll last and all.

That was always a tough one.

Sling or no sling, college will be starting for TBJ in a few weeks. It's a pretty nostalgic time for TigerBlog, who remembers his son's first days in Kindergarten, middle school, high school and all.

Actually, his first day of high school was a "snow day," or a more accurately a hurricane day, as school was closed back in late August of 2011 because of Hurricane Irene.

As college draws nearer for TBJ and all of his friends, TigerBlog is seeing the preparation for such a huge life step from a much different perspective.

TigerBlog really has a pretty narrow view of the college world. To him, it almost all is about athletics and it almost all is about the Ivy League.

TBJ is headed to Sacred Heart, in Fairfield, Conn. His best friend Matthew is going to Chestnut Hill College. He has lacrosse teammates going throughout Division I, II and III. They'll all have varying experiences, with some who will excel in school and sports - and some who probably won't.

Forgetting the athletic piece, though, all TigerBlog really knows about the nuts and bolts of a college education is what he had at Penn and what he knows from what he's observed at Princeton for the last few decades.

At  Penn, there was a big course catalog, and each student had to make a schedule from that. TB could even know when his finals would be before the semester ever started.

He's not even sure how students at Princeton choose their classes. He's learning how it works at Sacred Heart. It's all very fascinating.

He's also learning about the rest of sending a child to college - even the fun of paying tuition. It's all stuff he's never really had to think about all these years.

Anyway, what's the point of all this?

Well, it's that wherever you're going to school, you have to make your way in the world. A few friends of TBJ's have already gone off for the freshman years. Most have not. has been filled of late with stories about incoming freshman classes. TigerBlog will be putting up the one about the incoming freshman men's lacrosse players in the next day or so.

All of these incoming Princeton freshmen are a few weeks from coming to school. It's such a huge jump, going from the comforts of high school to a completely foreign world of a new college.

It's a big culture shock.

And TigerBlog is sure that pretty much all of the parents of those athletes are thinking the same basic things that he is.

They all want them to do well. They all worry about the possible pitfalls. They all can't believe they have kids going to college.

They all remember when they were just little babies.

Ah, but they've grown up, and pretty soon they're heading off on their own.

Also, if they're like TigerBlog, they're also trying to cram any last vestiges of parental advice into the last few weeks before they leave all the nests. It's like a big review for a big exam- the exam of life.

Eventually, they have to take that test on their own. Sooner rather than later, it would seem.

It's scary. And exciting.

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