Friday, August 3, 2007

Leaving Home for College - Please Share Your Story!

It's that time of year! This is not meant to be a writing contest, but just some shared experiences and observations about the American rite of passage, leaving home for the first time to attend college. You may talk about yourself or perhaps one of your children. I look forward to hearing from you!


ms. whatsit said...

Ohhh... I just wrote about the topic this morning (well, sort of) . Is this the kind of post you are looking for?

GreenmanTim said...

Leaving home for the first time happens earlier than college for those of us who went to boarding school. Going to college was still a major rite of passage, but I think the real threshold of independance came for me the first time I took the train by myself from upstate NY back to school in Delaware. This was after Fall break during my 9th grade year, and involved taking the two car diesel from the end of the Harlem Line in Dover Plains, NY to Brewster North where the trains were electrified. After a bit more than 2 hours I'd emerge in Grand central and take the Shuttle to Penn Station and Amtrak from there to Wilmington, DE. There was no one else from school on the first trains, but sometimes I'd find a friend on the train south from New York. As I grew older and more worldly, I'd find ways to save some of my travel fare by taking New Jersey Transit to Philly instead of Amtrak and walking between Grand Central and Penn. Manhattan was a big place for a country mouse but I soon knew how to get through Midtown, and though I was passing through I sensed that great adventures awaited further up or down the Island. I took the same route while in college just outside of Philly, an old pro at mass transit by then, and able to take excursions off the beaten track with confidence.

The Tour Marm said...

Thanks to both of you for your contributions!

I took the E or F train from Continental Avenue to West 4th Street (NYU) so I didn't go through the rite of passage, just tunnels! I had been navigating NYC subways alone since I was nine, and flying unescorted since I was eight.

I 'ran away from home'* in my twenties!

*My mother's term.

DrPezz said...

I felt an absolute culture shock when leaving for college. I traveled from San Francisco to the small cow town of Ellensburg, WA. I went from rainbows and piercings to boots and gun racks.

Beyond the initial culture shock was the entirely new beginning for me. I, unlike just about everyone else, arrived without anyone from my high school enrolled, and I didn't even have the comaraderie of competing against these other freshmen or having seen them at camps and conferences.

I remember meeting one friend, David, who said he shot a ten point buck. I looked at him and--quite seriously mind you--asked how tall is a point. He had to pull the car over because he was laughing so hard. He showed me pictures of the antlers' 10 points later. Ah, this is but one of my culture shock moments, my naivete.

The Tour Marm said...

Hee hee!

I was luckier, I grew up traveling between liberal New York City and a sheep farm in conservative rural Virginia; my culture shock came was when I was six!


Jennie W said...

My parents went with me when I started college - I was moving from Alaska to North Dakota and had never even visited the campus. What I remember is that I was on the 4th floor (no elevator and no AC) and August in ND just BOILS (especially if you are a kid from Alaska, where 75 is a really hot day) and we had to haul all my stuff all the way up. My father went out that day and bought a fan for the room. He also looked out my window and decided you could see Kansas out of it. I do remember that my first view of the room kind of scared me - the mattresses were a weird plasticy blue-green and the shower (we were in suites, so you only had to share a bathroom with 3 people rather than 30) was a dark pit. But while it look scary that day, once I settled in it was quite homey (all my books on the shelf really helped).

EHT said...

Sorry so late.....I've been in the bed with back problems.

I went away to college for the first time with my trunk and my parents in tow. I don't know who had more fun arriving on or my mom. You see, the first college I attended is where my mom lived as a very little girl. Her mother cooked for the students in the 30s. They lived in an apartment on campus. Mother became a girl's dorm mascot since she was always hanging around. The girls enjoyed dressing her up. I have several pictures of mom playing with the children of the college president and other professors. Mom and one of her friends she remembered as Little Henry used to play in the dumbwaiter that went from the bottom floor dining hall up to the dorm floors. While I unpacked she and Dad looked for the dumbwaiter since I was housed in that same building. They found the opening and even though the actual dumbwaiter had been removed some time before the opening was still there.

I knew I had made the right decision about attending that particular college when I saw my mother lean over the opening for the dumbwaiter and call down to Little Henry like she used to do when she was four. I felt an extreme connection to her past and every day during the time I was in that dorm I called down to Little Henry as well every now and then.

The Tour Marm said...

Thanks for the lovely stories!

Sorry to hear about your back EHT. I have back problems, too, (due to injuries sustained from loading and unloading luggage) but since I've been sleeping on an air mattress, I haven't had much pain. I've begun toting my bed around to hotels etc. rather than sleep on their firm mattresses. (Of course the Radisson have those sleep number beds which are terrific!)