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I survived the college search – as parent – once, and here comes the second round.

“I’m wishing I was grown up, but I am really really really scared!”  Or maybe it was …

“Let me go!  Let me go!  Let me go!”  Or in this latest round of college visits…

“Do I really have to go?  Can I just stay home forever?”

This time around, question #3 was answered with “Hey!  This might be okay after all!”

College visits, round two, took place on the eastern coast of south Florida.  Why would you NOT want to go to college there?  The sun shines most days, 60 degrees is considered COLD (!!!!!), and most campuses have an outdoor pool where you can go hang out in between classes.

This time around, I toured campuses with my son, not my daughter.  Not to stereotype, but on the campuses where we were able to sit and have a meal in the cafeteria, my son’s response was “I think I’m really starting to like this place!”  Endless buffet?  “This place is great!”

Not to stereotype, but one campus that imposes mandatory curfews for first semester freshman would have sent my daughter running, but was a non-issue for my son. “Yeah, it’s just one semester.”

The college search is such a stressful proposition for teenagers, but for parents, if you can get beyond worrying about money, it is in fact fun to watch, as that little baby you once bounced in the air looks to see where s/he can imagine him/herself. Dreams are the key – what might I want to be…, and you watch as just about anything is possible.

One of the campuses we visited seemed to understand the process quite well, advising potential students that the best decision on where to attend college happens between your heart and your gut.  Most teenagers have an instinctive sense of “Yes I fit” or “Nope, let’s get out of here right now”.  We were lucky that on all three campuses in this visit, “Yes I fit” was the result.

How exciting.

Anything is possible.

What a ride, as a parent.

About Claire Ziamandanis

Claire Ziamandanis is Professor of Spanish at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Over her 20 years at the college, she has been a champion for study abroad, establishing the first affiliation for Spanish students, and then working with the Study Abroad office to open the doors to students from other majors. Claire loves travel, food, wine and Spanish but not necessarily in that order!

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