A sign on the path to register for classes.
Soooo, for whatever reason, I had a hard time falling asleep on Saturday night. I think it was well after 3 am, by the time I finally drifted off, and then had to get right back up by 6, to get ready and head to Ames for Coadster's orientation. It wasn't horrible, but it did make sitting through information sessions that were much like the information sessions I've worked at my school about a million times, kind of grueling. I'm sure it would have been unseemly to have fallen asleep during that. If I had been thinking, I would have bought some of those glasses with the open eyes painted on the lenses.
Stinky in her St Louis Cardinals t-shirt.
Orientation turned out to be a pretty nice experience overall. Coadster got really excited about going to school, Stinky learned about what it would take for her to get into college and hearing about how much fun it was, gave her some incentive to get her act in gear. Stinky is a science girl and wants to get into health care. Right after she got sick and was in and out of the hospital for what seemed like forever, she didn't think she'd ever want to go back again. Now that she's older, she wants to go back and make a difference for other sick kids. After going to the info sessions, she's decided she might want to become a biology major and figure out if she wants to turn that into a nursing degree or go premed. Of course, I'm sure she'll change her mind a hundred more times, but at least the wheels are turning.
The fountain in front of the union.
The two days with my girls also turned into a really great time to talk about things. When I've raised the girls, a lot of what I worked on was discipline and social skills (yeah, poor girls never stood a chance) and trying to guide them in the right way. I've tried really hard to be open and honest with them, so they would feel safe to be open and honest with me...And believe me, there have been times when they opened up to me about things that I wish I didn't have to know. As they get older, though, my policy seems to work better and better. We had great conversations about religion and politics and whether we prayed and what our goals were and we laughed our asses off. I've always told the girls what I believe, but encouraged them to educate themselves and form their own opinions. It's just amazing sometimes to listen to your kids and realize that they are becoming such great people.
Me holding up the walls of the clock tower.
We met with the financial aid people to figure out Coadster's total award. She got a full tuition scholarship, but still had to figure out how to pay for her room and board and books and all the other little stuff. The financial aid advisor said that Coadster had received a couple of other smaller scholarships based on her grades and then with the Pell grant and the money she got from her accident and a work study job, she should be able to get through this year without taking out any loans.
I had a talk with Coadster about finances and the best way to budget. I think that's a hard thing to figure out when you get out on your own and things like food, shampoo and laundry detergent don't just show up in your house. She seems to have a pretty good handle on that.
Coadster marching off on her way to her adult life.
The other thing I tried to address with Coadster was getting involved with activities. She and I both have the same disease where we think we can do everything and then run ourselves ragged. I told her to just pick a couple of things to join and then see how much time she had after her first couple of weeks of school. She said she definitely wanted to get into a choir, join Dance Marathon, sign up with the Catholic student church and then see about joining an intramural soccer team. It seemed like a nice mix of performance, creativity, spirituality, community service and exercise. She's so much more balanced as an 18 year old than I am in my 40's. Maybe I should be seeking her advice instead.