November 18, 2008

Brief notes on a college visit

My daughter and I took advantage of Veterans Day this year to make another college-visit trip, to a different region of the country from February's trip, this time to two Colleges of Potential Choice. I was wrong last time when I said I kept having facultyish thoughts in February as well as parent thoughts. I have at least three lenses through which I'm seeing colleges we visit: parent, faculty member, and person who studies education. Thoughts during the visits Monday and Tuesday:

  • The campus tour is a genre of performance art with its own conventions and rituals (including the tourguide's walking-backwards-and-tripping bit). 
  • All of the institutions we've visited together try to make students feel special/entitled, and their values are embodied in how they do so.
  • She's enjoying cooler weather (again). We've definitely lost her as far as staying close to home is concerned.
  • As a parent, I waver between wanting a tourguide to pour forth the information and hoping that the tourguide is just a little rough around the edges so we get a better sense of the institution. Same with the admissions officer who conducts the information session.
  • Oh, dear. I spaced out precisely at the time when the tourguide said something surprising (and alarming) to my daughter. Time to conduct some quick research online while she's in class!
  • That is both an odd and perfect place for the science fiction collection.
  • It is a surprising phenomenon that slight changes in the architecture can make a difference between a campus that feels intimate and a campus that feels monumental. 
  • Stone, wood, plaster, brick, concrete. Someone's got to write a song about campus building materials.
  • That must be awfully slippery in the rain. The other flooring isn't, but it's awfully ugly. Isn't there any flooring that is both safe and pleasing?
  • I think the charm of both places is almost guaranteed in contrast to my daughter's bureaucratic high school.
  • Oh, they don't have that here? I made an assumption; thank goodness I didn't voice it with my daughter.
  • Oh, my, that's an amazing... indulgence is not quite the word. Neither is entitlement, since it's valuable for its educational purpose. Serious flabbergastery, and I'm someone who's been around for a good while. 
These random notes are brought to you by a day that started at 5:15 and is going past 11 pm, with a few breaks for chauffeuring, music, and light napping. I am still far behind on stuff I need to do in almost any realm of life. It's everything I've taken on, plus the time of the semester, but I think I'm going to declare temporal bankruptcy. Warning: if you're not a family member, I'm afraid you're not a secured creditor on my time. Maybe my problem is prioritization and sequencing. I was trying to finish up a project today with an acquaintance, when she snapped back, "Sherman, you are just too little, too late. I already voted!"

I think I will stop now before I commit worse jokes.

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Posted in Higher education on November 18, 2008 10:57 PM |