As I have mentioned several times in this blog I am the mother of a boy who is currently a high school senior. As I have also mentioned before, the last year or so has been filled with a number of what I think of as Rites of Passage moments, milestones along the way to his adulthood and independence. This last week produced another such milestone, as I accompanied him on his first college visit.
Our destination was Gettysburg,PA, a 6-8 hour drive from Northeastern Ohio. Since our car objects to traveling 6-8 miles, and other forms of public transit were either too expensive or too inconvenient, we opted for Greyhound. The trip was actually pleasant, except for some bizarre routing that required us to go north to Cleveland in order to go east to Pittsburgh, a maneuver that added about 4 hours onto our trip.
Gettysburg College has been our son's first choice ever since he started thinking about post secondary education. The opportunity to study American History, and especially Civil War History, in an area that so much of it happened drew him. Our visit had several purposes. He would be able to view the campus, have an application interview, and also see something of the town. Oh and maybe get a little time on the battlefield.
The visit was a success in every respect.
We arrived on Thursday morning, dropped our bags at the motel, and spent the rest of the day on and off the battlefields. Our motel actually had a view out the window of the National Cemetery. It should tell you something about my son that he was delighted by this fact. The town has free bus service that loops around all the major sites, but we also walked around. We were both delighted by the friendliness and helpfulness of everyone we met. The Boy was happy to see that there were a lot of things to do including easy access to a Walmart.
On Friday morning we reported promptly at 0830 to campus, where a full day of activities had been set up for him. The history buff was delighted to discover that we were in a building that had once been Dwight Eisenhower's office. After his interview he went off with a tour guide for the rest of the day. I went on a parents tour, then spent the rest of the day exploring all those little antique and curiosity shops that a 17 year old boy wouldn't be caught dead in.
When I came back at 3:30 it was to pick up a delighted son. He liked everything he had seen: the facilities, the students, the professors. And to a mother's eye, it seemed that once again he had grown a bit more, matured a bit. Maybe because this was the first time he had really envisioned his future. We have talked about it, but now he was actually seeing it or at least seeing what it could be, and it showed in the way he talked about his day and his plans.
Now we move on to the tangles of the application process. But at least he has the goal in sight at last.