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What To Expect When You Are Expecting - For The First Time College Parent

bridgenailbridgenail Registered User Posts: 1,005 Senior Member
Someone encouraged me to post this - and it's kind of fun to look back on my neurosis so here goes.

You've done the deed (accepted at a school). And now you are happy, scared, neurotic, confused and sometimes blissful.

Here's what you may experience (or not) in the coming months and years

May - buyers remorse. Followed by the fact that you didn't get enough money compared to everyone else. You have permission to exaggerated your scholarship - everyone else does.

June - Par-tay - Graduation party palooza and you're feeling good. Buyer's remorse has subsided as you find out amazing things about the new school via twitter!! You will find yourself bragging (after a few glasses of wine) at grad parties of how your child's school is #1 in sustainable roof tiles! Yes, roof tiles! They really care about the environment there! On the school's Twitter feed you will find out about awards that you had no idea a school could receive. But you are feeling good and nostalgic.

July - the one stable month - enjoy! Unless something from Aug creeps into July!!

August - lots to worry about!! You'll find out their roommate and seriously wonder if they could be a serial killer. Well that's ridiculous - maybe just a thief. Or a pot dealer omg!!! And inevitably you'll hear about a robbery or crime by the school or in the city or the state (you'll find one!!) and it will freak you out! And for extra fun you'll hear about multiple crimes or lock downs at the schools (or any school). These are not the best days. Regardless you'll spend tons of money at Bed Bath & Beyond bc all you can do anymore is spend money on them. And as the departure date nears you will spend even more money! There's a correlation there. Really they don't need the small desk that hooks on to the side bed, the mini-fan or assortment of mini-lights. If it hooks to the bed don't buy it! Note you will put all this stuff in a room and organize it many times (in secret) and your child will not pack a thing until the night before!

Freshman year - OMG it is the most amazing school! They have a themester that incorporates saving the environment with Shakespeare and Mozart all done on Youtube while playing Frisbee on the quad! I wish I was a college student again!!
Your student: loving it (and lying a bit) or hating it (and being honest). By Easter they aren't thinking about transferring anymore. They survived one long year of "camp".

Sophomore year - OK the school's not perfect. But hey they are learning a ton and have great friends. It's just I don't understand how I can pay so much and still their great technology program that I read about on twitter doesn't seem to be working for my child!!
Your student: It's really not camp and I have to live here 3 more years - sophomore slump. A new set of friends pulls them out. And they start getting used to college.

Junior year - Ugh I don't care if their IT stuff never works! You're fine just get your degree!!! My god I spend so much money and seriously she can't get on-line. But just when you are getting frustrated with the gobs you are spending on the school, you go out to the bar with them for the first time. It's after a show and the orchestra is still in their tuxes, the opera singers still in their make-up and the place is up for grabs. They have THEIR bar! They'll remember this place forever. And all the sudden it all seems worth it again.
Your student: Happy.

Senior year - Get your degree! I don't care about the IT problems anymore! Wait until you get in the real world, it's just as bad! And then omg I have to spend $400 a night at a hotel for graduation!! Seriously...one final money shake down before we drive out of there!! Where's that bar?!? I need it.
Your student: Scared about their future...but self-directed and handling it pretty well...they have grown up.

Now on to grad school...omg it's the most amazing school...

This was fun...and I'm sure some could add to it. It's just the experience of one neurotic parent. Your experience may differ.

Replies to: What To Expect When You Are Expecting - For The First Time College Parent

  • RandomMuseRandomMuse Registered User Posts: 119 Junior Member
    Thank you for this! I enjoyed reading it
  • cellomom6cellomom6 Registered User Posts: 573 Member
    I would like to see musicprnt's version too!
  • momsingsmomsings Registered User Posts: 807 Member
  • musicprntmusicprnt Registered User Posts: 6,253 Senior Member
    Well, I can't quit talk about the later rounds, but here I add in some of the wonderful twists of being a parent of a music student,hopefully just as funny.

    December: OMG, was my pre screen video good enough? Did I have tonality issues in the pre screen? Did I list the right teachers? What if I don't get in on any of the pre screens? Even the cat is getting nervous, shown by the fact that she is sleeping on 22.5 hours a day, not 23........ and each day I am glad to be at work, I only get the "didn't hear back yet, what is wrong" a couple of times a day

    January:Have the pre screen results, all good. Now comes the fun, setting the auditions....major school one sets audition on day of dress rehearsal of pre college orchestra rehearsal, S is a principal, can't miss it, and given that audition is 5 hours+ away from the rehearsal city, not going to work......re-arranges that audition, but means will have to do a red eye from the west coast, land in the morning, for a morning audition on east coast, son not thrilled,cat yawns and goes back to cleaning herself......

    Son's pacing has worn grooves in the wood of our living room floor, and his practice room looks like Berlin after WWII, including several holes in the wall where he kicked it, thinking all the gloomy thoughts he can...parents wondering if our normally positive kid is turning Goth....not helped when honorable teacher is busy doing everything they can to stamp out any remaining trace of ego the kid has and telling him he is hopeless...

    February: Cat is back to sleeping 23 hours a day, but the extra half hour of grooming she had been doing means she is even more elegant and haughty than before...son on the other hand is like a cat, cat on a hot tin roof, he says "my playing stinks, my audition is going to be a joke", we say "you sound great", and get the ultimate insult (in his eyes), "You are parents, you arent' musicians".....

    Busy making reservations to handle the west coast to east coast flip flop, several days before we go, said chaperone (moi) gets a really bad respiratory infection.....making flying feeling like Uncle Fester when he put a clamp on his head, and dealing with a neurotic seatmate who decided I must have Ebola or something, spent 10 minutes telling me how I shouldn't be flying, and otherwise made a royal pain of herself with the flight attendants (and I was nice, I only coughed her way one out of every two coughing fits....)....said neurotic got her comeuppance, connecting flight in Denver was delayed, making her miss her flight to Hawaii from LA.....

    Did the LA gig, I got to see the parts of LA that still like like Cinema noir, blown away by audience at LA Phil concert, actually was living and breathing (and only in LA, two pretty woman doing PDA in the bar at the concert hall, would cause a number of pacemakers to blow out if that happened at a NY Phil concert)......audition went well, school has beautiful facilities, and oh, yeah, did I mention the place is full free ride?

    Flew overnight, which when sick is even more interesting, couldn't sleep, watched a lot of bad tv shows and movies on the flight back, son trying to climb the walls of the cabin, I think he is too close to the cat and picked up her bad habits, expecting to see him hanging from the cabin roof by his nails.

    Get to City #1, cold, dreary, son tells me I better not get anywhere near the audition site, threatens to take away my nasal spray and bring back greasy burgers if I show up.....audition itself was interesting, as S entered the audition room, French mother is yelling at the audition panel, obviously a graduate of the Black Jacque Shellac school of winning friends and influencing people, telling them they all were but a bunch of cretins for not recognizing the soul of her daughters playing or something son probably had to keep from hanging by the ceiling from his nails (darn cat influence), since he stood there for 10 minutes. Had audition, said by the time he got to play, his nerves were shot, but so were the panel's, after playing they offered him some of the stuff they were slipping from a flask, son declined, figuring it would make him curl up and take a nap (darn cat's influence again)....

    March:
    DW had all the fun here, took S to audition at famous school 3, saw all the hopeful kids, all scrubbed and clean, son commented how fast they get corrupted, having seen students at said school crawling out of bed at noon on a saturday, looking like something the cat wouldn't drag in (especially our cat, who only would catch blue ribbon prized show mice, none of your plebian field mice)...kept close watch on tiger moms, known to kick violin and cello cases to try and get sound posts out of wack or otherwise cripple the competition....audition went better, maybe because no one was accusing the panel member's parents of not being married, or that they drank jug wine and loved it in a loud tone of voice when my S entered the room.

    S had sample lesson with dream teacher, but got his nose bent out of joint when said teacher said it would be fun to work with him, glad said son has not seen the movie "GoodFellas", so he didn't come back with "What, I amuse you, you #*%?"

    Then on to audition at major school #4, aka the fraternity initiation ceremony at the snotball fraternity in Animal House"Thank you sir, may I have another?".....several parents sharpening sound post adjusting tools by rubbing them on the steps outside the building, in case a repeat of the famous shanking incident of '08 is repeated.....students coming out of audition room all taking oxygen, after the requirement to play every piece of violin rep ever written... in 15 minutes....S plays, then immediately tries to curl into a ball and go to sleep (have to get rid of that cat!). S doesn't make into the later rounds, and throws a fit he must have learned from our cat when we switched her from premium to ordinary food, saying he was no good, that he didn't have a chance...when we pointed out that the teacher at the sample lesson, his dream teacher (and one of the best in the business by reputation) seemed to like working with him, he said "He was just being nice" and kept up the caterwauling...we then dared point out that said school took only a couple on his instrument that year, versus 100+ auditioning, and he told us "what do you know?" and stalked off, thoroughly enjoying making himself miserable.

    Cat during all of this looked back and forth with amusement, then went to sleep.

    *continued*












  • musicprntmusicprnt Registered User Posts: 6,253 Senior Member
    *continued from prior*

    March/April: Decision time comes, and despite the best efforts of his then current teacher and the cat to make him feel small, S gets into 3 of the 4 programs he was targeting (see major school #4 above for the one he didn't get into). Gets waitlisted for his dream teacher at school #2, enjoys telling us "See, I told you so, he was being nice". Initially accepts at school #1, my heart leaps for joy at the thought of not being in penury for 4 years, only to have it smashed by dream teacher coming through,made sure S didn't give up, and otherwise showed he wasn't just being polite when he said it would be fun to teach him (even more amazing, was so on the ball, said teacher fits the stereotype of the absent minded music teacher to a T). School #3 admitted him, but made it easier to make a decision when the admissions department, who to start admissions season must have apparently watched the movie "Brazil", fouled up with the teacher selection (ie teacher #1 on his list didn't have room at said school, didn't talk to teacher #2 until a month later, when his studio was full), and told him "we have a lot of great teachers" , when S pointed out he would be accepting not knowing who his teacher would be...

    S accepts with dream teacher, I end up hanging from the ceiling by my nails, figuring if I can't beat the darn cat, might as well join her...... My crying jag and screaming over turning down full ride school to have the honor of paying for school #2 , gets a response from homeland security and the national guard, figuring sounds of sheer pain and agony like that have to be caused by a terrorist incident......narrowly escape a one way ticket to Guatanamo, but show the tuition and room and board bill to the head of the Navy Seal team that came,he understands, offers to take the cat there instead, since it is obvious she is a domestic terrorist, to make me feel better, but I demur, saying the enemy you know is better than the unknown...

    Summer: S is somewhat elated, wife is relieved, while I keep alka seltzer, kleenex tissues and pepcid in business, thinking about paying for this. As summer wears on, S gets darker, looking at teacher's studio, and feeling like he will be the slug in the garden,the then current honorable teacher seems to enjoy telling him..he is right.

    Fall: Move to school,after unloading S's stuff, he suddenly is "don't let the door hit you on the way out". Over time, reminds us of the old song "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh", went from "I am terrible, these guys are good" to "gee, I can see where I fit in". Is shocked to find out, making friends with a kid who is really accomplished already, that everyone feels like they aren't good enough. Course, S won't admit this,practically had to pull it out of him with a pair of pliers, but is actually starting to enjoy it. Says the facilities suck, the cafeteria is horrible, I say "welcome to college".

    Hear less and less from him, texts prime means of communications, with me, usually sports stuff (yes, I have that rarest of the rare, a music geek who is a sports nut, keep telling him go to any bar there, will end up getting people buying him drinks if he talks about sports..)......we figure out something else is up, start seeing dinners occassionally on the credit card he has, and it is for two people......but when we ask, get the same kind of response we get from the cat when we tell her she sleeps too much....

    February: In between bouts of complaining about the winter and the city and such, get glimmers of improvement happening, talks about not being afraid to play in studio class. Complains about the food in the cafeteria, which is mysterious, cause seems like he is eating other places, as we can tell from his bank card statement and credit card charges...I almost take one way trip there (knowing if I went, would probably be charged with murder) when in the middle of winter, wonders if he should have gone to the school in LA (aka free ride city), settle with telling him I never should have let him around that cat, the delight in torturing things having apparently rubbed off

    Mystery of extra dinners revealed, S decides he wants to come home for a long weekend, wants to know if he can bring someone.....DW asks "is it a girlfriend", S says "Y", wife asks me if that means a friend who is a girl, or someone you have to worry about..I indicate the latter, glad that S has decided it is fun torturing DW, too, not just me....

    Cat sleeps 23 hours a day, and yawns when S came home.

    Year 2:

    S is sharing apartment, the housing situation at school in terms of getting back into the dorm like playing russian roulette with 4 bullets in the gun. S looking forward to the year coming, but learns that going shopping for stuff for an apartment with DW is not to his liking. Grumbles about everything, but has an apartment that is a block and a half from school.....

    Which is good, because this kind of becomes a winter of discontent. While on the one hand he is starting to find his confidence (took almost a whole year for his teacher to patch together his ego from the shreds his prior teacher left), we are also starting to get the "Did I make the right choice?" kind of thing, and murmurs about transferring......Parrot has a field day when DW starts yelling at him over the phone, matching shriek for shriek, and otherwise mirroring the telling off.......I am calm, until DW says he wants to transfer to another expensive school, not the place in LA, then I start yelling and the bird starts singing Klingon Opera. Cat opens one eye, then goes back to sleep.

    Son does a fantastic recital, gives a lecture before hand, then puts together a unique performing group to do the orchestral part of the concerto, and gives himself the ultimate compliment afterwords "It was okay"......

    Also experiences "The Day After Tomorrow" , with a cold, dreary winter, with a ton of snow.

    Then, of course, we have the drama over summer programs that he applied to half baked (and didn't get in), whining about this and that, worries about the future, am I good enough, my technique stinks.....one moment we hear a performance he sent us a video of, and are proud of him, the next minute we want to make him quit and go become an accountant or something (in other words, typical music student)...and all through this, the Cat could care less.

    -to be continued someday-
  • momsingsmomsings Registered User Posts: 807 Member
  • bridgenailbridgenail Registered User Posts: 1,005 Senior Member
    If you think you are done being a parent when your kid leaves for college, read these and think again! I do really think Sophomore year is the hardest year. And it's for many reasons. My daughter's living situation became a nightmare. I stood in her kitchen and turned in circles thinking omg what do I do. She's pretty neat and this is what drove her to the edge. Finally I decided the only way to deal with it was a shovel. Seriously. If I could get a shovel I could clear out the garbage, recycling area and then maybe start on the spaghetti splattered walls. You may think I shouldn't have done anything. But my god the ants! Something had to be done! I mentioned it to the kids and they said oh yea I did notice some ants. Ugh Junior year was better.
  • musicamusicamusicamusica Registered User Posts: 6,468 Senior Member
    Yeah my D's sophomore living situation was a nightmare as well. She settled into her new apartment in New Orleans nicely and one week later it was under 10 feet of water. Live and learn.
  • cellomom6cellomom6 Registered User Posts: 573 Member
    edited April 2015
    So my hopes for my son doing his own laundry and and not just leaving it until someone (not us) tells him to will not change anytime soon. Our kids poor teachers.

    10 feet of water?? musicmusica yikes!
  • bridgenailbridgenail Registered User Posts: 1,005 Senior Member
    You don't need to buy the bed bug protector mattress cover for your little angel. From what I've seen of most dorm rooms I don't think bed bugs would even move in!

    One more funny story. When we toured colleges we visited a friend of my D's. He lived in a "theater" house. He was sharing a room with a few guys in the house. It was a mess but he was proud of it. They introduced us to a few girls and said they lived in a room next door and they all shared a bitchen. I asked what a bitchen was. He opened a door to show me the bathroom/kitchen bx the two rooms. A small room with a shower, a toilet, a sink and counter space for 8 kids. It was trashed with towels and dirty plates and god knows what. I tired not to stare. There was a pan of chocolate cake right next to the toilet. He picked it up and offered us a piece. My husband wouldn't even take any.
  • cellomom6cellomom6 Registered User Posts: 573 Member
    edited April 2015
    Omg. I am now convinced my son is staying in the dorms an extra year.

    We had a bedbug scare at our hotel 6 years ago and cost us 3k (reimbursed by insurance) to not take them home with us. I think we will maybe burn his stuff when he comes home to visit.
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