College Visits & Growing Up Kids.

“We need to be raising our children for LIFE. Life is not a small system within 4 walls. Life is vast and wild. And once our children are out of school, that’s where life really begins. Too many people are raising their children to conform to systems. And when they start life they will continue to simply conform to whatever system they find themselves inside of. And those are exactly the kinds of people who will never change the world. The only types of people who change this world, are the ones who think on their own, design their own lives, and create their own systems. Everybody else is just there for the train ride. Very few people are designing their own train tracks. Raise railway designers, stop raising commuters.”
― C. JoyBell C.

Thousands times this…yes! Raising children for me is unique. My brain honestly knows no limits. I seriously mean that. I won’t ever lie and say that my growing up was perfect. But I had a few simple keys to “success” (in quotes because we all define it differently). I had two parents who honestly did the best they could with what they had. I had a huge support network that extended far beyond my own parents which subsequently moved me beyond my own world.

But the one true thing my growing up taught me was that when the world tells you, “No.” You flip the world off and do it anyway, and no my parents didn’t tell me that. They lived it. They had their own battles and hardships, but they kept going. I am just guessing as a bystander at this point, but I bet there were even times when they didn’t want to and they did anyway.

My guy’s up bringing, albeit very different than my own, also very strong and supportive. So to say we are raising some fierce females up in here is an understatement. Sometimes I wonder why I have pushed to raise such strong fierce females when that fierceness is directed at me. But then I remember the world. It can be cruel and tough and they need a whole lotta fierceness to be themselves and then I take a deep breath.

My oldest is going to be 17 in a few weeks. First, I don’t know how we got here considering I still feel 17 myself. Second, that means college visits. I should also note she is in an early college. I consider myself a college “expert” (again define that how you will). I have been in college for too long (since my almost 17 year old was 18 months with one year off in all that time). I have mad respect for college because it gave me much more privilege and education than I could ever dream of. I teach college courses. I work at an early college. And all of that I know one thing…COLLEGE is expensive.

I have taught my girls one key fact about college. You go to college where ever you want, but….IT IS ABOUT MONEY. Do not ever let a college fool you. They want you, yes, but they want your money first. So be sure in your decisions about college that money is a part of it. THE END.

That sentiment has set up high expectations for themselves and it has made them grounded in the fact that money must be a part of the decision and they also know that my guy and I will do whatever we can to make it work for them to the extent that we can.

My # 1 baby girl has definitely set her sights on some colleges and I have tried to instill on her (and her sisters) that a campus is more than the numbers and the programs. It is a feel you get on campus. It is the people on the campus. It is the area of the campus. So when we can travel to them we do. That has definitely been ramping up for her.

First and foremost, I raised her (and her sisters) being around my own college where I was taking classes or teaching on campus, so they have been more times than any of us can count to my alma mater IPFW (Indiana University Purdue University of Fort Wayne), now known as PFW.  Back then we made so little money that the campus truly was their playground. I still have the fondest memories of them playing on campus.

Second, I have forced them to consider state schools because of cost. We have gone to Rose Hulman and Butler. I hope to take her to St. Francis, Manchester and Trine University. She got a scholarship from St. Francis for art though it is not what she wants to study. We are also really lucky because all within an hour of us are some awesome schools and we go out even to 2 or 3 hours there are even more colleges. She has also visited some with school. We have also talked about schools much further away that she wants to visit and we are just trying to narrow them down for expense sake.

Then there is my # 2 Baby girl who is going to be a freshman in high school and in an early college as well. She has no idea of what she really wants to do or if college is even her, so I have tried hard to be sure to include her in these conversations about colleges and even go on some of the visits to ensure she is also seeing if these are options for her. Her struggle is she isn’t as sure of what she wants to do with herself as a job. My older  baby girl is pretty certain she wants to study chemistry.

However, I will also say and I have said to my own students and daughters that with early college programs and dual credit/AP credits I feel like there is so much pressure on our 14-17 year olds to have some idea of where they want to be as adults that it is confusing and sometimes even dangerous. They need to also be kids and explore their interests. If we are pushing them into a pathway they don’t want or are not ready for the results could be disastrous. So I try and instill in all of them (my children and my students) that they do not have to decide and even if they do they can still change their minds.

So I guess my parting words of wisdom as I leave this post here are raise them with no limits, while also teaching them to understand boundaries and supporting them in highs and lows of their journey.

Concluding with the Mommy part of the Rhetoric – MR

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