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What does your rising senior do to stay motivated (for the pending college app finish line)

cypresspatcypresspat 628 replies11 threads Member
My S20 knows (because we've beat it into his head) that lots of high stats kids make it to the 5 yard line, but don't quite make it over the goal line, and sometimes that is because they don't do what they need to do to really push the quality of their apps over that line, which feels oh-so-close. That is what this summer is for. (FYI, by making it over the goal line, i don't mean acceptances - I mean putting forth the best apps possible).
So...he is somehow managing to stay academically "on" this summer (despite a killer junior year with almost all APs, two sports teams which went far into post-season play, standardized testing which felt weekly, and investigating virtually every engineering school in the country to death). I mean his parents are exhausted just watching him. So now it is summer. A full time construction job, from which he comes home every day looking like something the cat dragged in, studying to move up his SAT reasoning test by 30 or 40 points, driving/flying to look at a college or two almost every weekend, running his fall sports captain's practices 9 hours a week (and playing several games on the weekends when he is here), 3 hours in the weight room and drinking those disgusting protein shakes (gross) - I mean, this seems just ridiculous. This is NOT how I spent my summer between junior and senior year of HS. I mean, geesh…..sometimes I want to tell him to go out and get in some trouble, tick off the neighbors, blow off hockey practice. At least let your hair grow long like a normaly 17-year-old. "Don't go rob a bank...but shouldn't you and your buddies be playing your music too loud at the beach or something?"

But I see cracks in this concrete wall. He is VERY VERY VERY superstitious. For his sports equipment he MUST have certain pieces which are associated with some important win in his past. He MUST put his equipment on in a certain order. His hockey bag MUST have a few good luck items in there. His soccer cleats have seen better days, but we are not allowed to replace them for game play. We'll drive home to get things if something is out of order.

One taboo at our HS is owning (and definitely WEARING) a clothing item for a college one is applying to. Can only be owned/worn after acceptance, and in some cases, enrollment. But......I've noticed my son wearing a taboo shirt around the house. Actually, 3 or 4 taboo shirts. He does not leave the house with one on, of course, and he must trust his parents to not "out him" on this.....but I find this behavior curious. He did not own these shirts prior to this summer (i have zero idea where he got them). They are not brand new shirts, so maybe he got them at second hand shops? Or he and his other stressed-out friends traded shirts (he owns a ton because of my job, but none for the schools he is applying to, except tOSU).
This may be his way of having something around to motivate him to sit himself down for an hour to study for SAT reasoning....or....maybe it is that one tiny cell in his body which is his rebellious side coming out? Not sure. I dare not ask.

Is anyone else noticing odd things about their S/D20? I know my kid is super weird about how he is even choosing/evaluating colleges (vibe/location/weather are irrelevant; publication history of faculty is all he cares about), but I find this one thing really funny. He protects those shirts with his life - he does his own laundry but, like his father, has issues with things like removing clothing from the dryer and moving them to one's own closet. I thought he was incapable of this. It just doesn't happen in our house. But....these shirts. He must be washing them separately, drying them alone, and carefully moving them to his room. He is aware that he is not invisible and that we can SEE him wearing them....but no one is allowed to touch these shirts, apparently.
Please share any new idiocyncracies you've noticed about your S/D20 gearing up for the college app season. I'm hoping I don't need to save for tuition AND therapy.

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Replies to: What does your rising senior do to stay motivated (for the pending college app finish line)

  • gpo613gpo613 362 replies23 threads Member
    As to the first part of your post I will say generally kids these days are not living the same HS experience I had 30 years ago. I will say I worked in the summers plenty of hours once sports were done. I also worked my senior year of HS, but for the most part it was a blow-off year academically. I was only taking 4 classes.

    My D19 was done with sports after Junior year. I had hoped she would have more time in the fall for the college app process, but she found herself another job that ate up time. Also it didn't help that it was Fri/Sat in Oct, which meant no visits then. I will be honest it was tough getting her over the finish line, which extended in Jan-Mar because of additional scholarship competitions for schools and of course the local/national scholarships.

    And in a effort to make as much money as possible before college she started taking on every possible job around. At one point she 21 private swim lessons going on. Through all her craziness starting the Summer after Junior year she will probably net $4-5K more than if she had taken it easy. Sometimes I just think these kids are used to being busy so that is all they know. A 11-12 hour day for her between multiple jobs is her normal.

    All that being said I would try to rein the kids somewhat to ensure they had adequate time to devote to the apps.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83786 replies743 threads Senior Member
    cypresspat wrote:
    He MUST put his equipment on in a certain order. His hockey bag MUST have a few good luck items in there. His soccer cleats have seen better days, but we are not allowed to replace them for game play.

    Putting on equipment (or doing other tasks) in a certain order may be a habitual thing that avoids forgetting something. Using familiar old equipment in a game is a safer choice than finding out something unsuitable about new equipment on game day (which is why people prefer to try out new equipment in practice first).
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  • cypresspatcypresspat 628 replies11 threads Member
    @ucbalumnus. All true, but for him it is about the superstition. He has been putting hockey equipment on almost daily (sometimes twice) for twelve years.
    And he has many items he wears (eg, cleats) in practice, so they are fine. Just not on game day.s when instead the rituals rule.
    Gist here is that he is breaking a major superstition rule that he, and every other rising senior around here has who is prone to such tendencies. So I have to wonder about the motivation behind his going so far off the rails. He must get some benefit from this.......and I wonder if others had noticed anything uncharacteristic about their pending college-applicants.
    This hardly makes him James Dean, but he is such a stickler for superstitions otherwise, it is very odd that for this, something far more important than any hockey game, he is flouting ‘the rule.’ He is not a big rule flouter.
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  • CheeringsectionCheeringsection 2765 replies83 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    Maybe others have flouted the shirt rule and you never knew. That may be the source of the shirts. Maybe it is a superstitious way to “show interest/the love” to the colleges he really cares about?

    My DD20 is not doing anything particularly strange but she is hesitant to do independent research on schools which is not her usual approach to things. She has been tasked with identifying at least two more schools by 7/15. I reminded her Wednesday of the list DH and I provided her as a starting point. She did get started on it but I was a bit surprised that she is not further along in her research. Maybe focusing on the schools she has already identified is her way of motivating herself.
    edited July 2019
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  • cypresspatcypresspat 628 replies11 threads Member
    @Cheeringsection ...the source of the shirts... oooooooh, good theory! So this could be a multi-kid conspiracy, then? I like that one. I’m going with that.

    I think that researching potential colleges might get aversive for rising seniors at this point. They must be sick of all of this already. I think mine avoids suggesting any other school to his short list because that would require having a conversation with a parent. Not one of his favorite activities. Maybe she has done the research already but just isn’t ready for the full parental download yet? Interesting.
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  • maya54maya54 2676 replies100 threads Senior Member
    Superstitions are very very common with athletes. Look at all the major league players who don’t shave during a winning streak or how you can never discuss a no hitter out loud. So that seems very normal. As for the shirts, my kids wouldn’t allow any shirt for a school they wanted to go to anywhere near my house! Maybe though he has some superstition of his own involving those shirts which is why he grabs them out of the laundry? As an aside My kids ( and my husband) have never done their own laundry in my house just as I never did it in my parents house (and they better never try...stay out of MY laundry room! Lol)
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 7574 replies35 threads Senior Member
    I am laughing hard over here. Seems to me that you have a pretty normal teen 😉. Yes, athletes do some strange stuff. As stated so do the professionals. So do performers and so on.
    He seems ambitious and actually looking up schools etc, I give him a ton of credit. Doing applications etc. My son drove us crazy by pushing the send buttons very close to the deadlines. I kept telling him the internet could go out or something.. Drove me crazy.
    We were definitely different at the beach most of the time etc. As you stated.
    It's a different time now. I don't know if my kids would of survived the stuff I did 🤔.
    The shirt thing.. Well.. Just ask him "What's up with the shirts"? Then ask.. "Any others you want to get?
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  • Cbear24Cbear24 2 replies0 threads New Member
    I never understood how hockey players could be so routine/ sequence particular about gear and pregame and then go out and play a game that many times devolves into organized chaos. After 14 years of observing it I guess it just comes down to how they are wired. As for dealing with the final push our S20 is breaking it down into smaller pieces - 8 weeks of summer job plus hockey plus SAT prep will keep him busy until Sept 1 but then focus on apps in the Fall. Thankfully the job winds down and no Fall sport to worry about.
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  • cypresspatcypresspat 628 replies11 threads Member
    @maya54 I suspected we are not the only HS with the shirt thing. And for my son, this rule extends to parents. While visiting what is currently his #1 school, it suddenly started to pour right before our tour. Forecast was NOT rain so we had no rain coat, no umbrella. Right outside of the admissions center was the bookstore, so I did the logical thing and went in to purchase an umbrella. Once it occurred to him what I was doing he practically knocked it out of my hands- WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?????? Was all he had to say. There will be no umbrella, slicker, hoodie....not gonna happen.
    So that was a felony first class but he can wear the T-shirt around the house......hmmmmmm.....
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  • cypresspatcypresspat 628 replies11 threads Member
    @Cbear24 I wish we had no fall sport to worry about, but we do. And it starts in 24 days. His first league game is August 7. Then it is a sprinted marathon of sports, school and apps until March. Our last college visit is in late July as he has exactly two days between aug 1 and thanksgiving where he is free. Thank goodness he is not a procrastinator and he is all over his app schedule. They will roll out about 3 weeks apart, starting aug 1. Five will be done by the time hockey starts on Nov 1 and then we start the dreaded death march to the ED decisions in December. Then we will likely start all over with the RD apps! Yay!
    And I have been around hockey my whole life. My youngest will carry ants outside instead of stepping on them, but then attempt to rip someone’s head off in a game an hour later. I have never understood how someone with a mild temperament can be so aggressive on the ice. This year marks my 24th and final year as a hockey mom. I am ready to hang up my cowbell.
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  • maya54maya54 2676 replies100 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    @cypresspat. OF COURSE the rule extends to parents. No parent I know would have ever considered engaging in the hubris of getting gear for a school their kid wanted to be admitted to any that wasn’t an auto admit. What’s surprising to me is that there are people who WOULD buy to wear the gear in advance. Lol. Indeed when my daughter got into a top 10 ( thus reach) school that is also an athletic powerhouse I called my friends with middle school,boys who owned that gear so she could wear it to school the next day ( The culture here is that you do that as soon as you can get your hands on the gear) It’s not uncommon for people to offer up gear they have when they find out a kid they know was admitted somewhere so it can be worn right away.
    edited July 2019
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  • CheeringsectionCheeringsection 2765 replies83 threads Senior Member
    No gear superstitions here, as far as I know. She has a few shirts/sweatshirts from visits or handed down from others. She wears them. Her classmates where theirs as well. I think it is more to keep everyone guessing than anything else.
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  • cypresspatcypresspat 628 replies11 threads Member
    Gasp, that would be a severe violation here. No item is allowed until the official day when all wear their shirts. This is actually very controversial. Concern is not all students are accepted to any college, so it is exclusionary. But that’s another post I don’t have the energy for.
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  • maya54maya54 2676 replies100 threads Senior Member
    At our school there is also a day...the Seniors last day of school...where everyone wears not just their college shirt but also lots of other gear. The girls go all out...hair ties..face stickers...body glitter...shoes in school colors etc...BUT they also wear their school shirts as soon as they are admitted to a school they plan to attend. There is also some controversy about that last day but as a public school, the principals reaction was “They have a right to wear whatever they want that day”
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  • mathmommathmom 33226 replies163 threads Senior Member
    I too worked summer before senior year, but I also did a lot of sailing.

    My kids were both working that summer as well. Older son full time computer programming, younger son part time for my architectural business. Neither did much college related stuff. Certainly not studying for SATs or writing essays! My oldest only cared about the quality of the CS departments. Large/small, urban/rural - it was all the same to him. I think that's a pretty mature outlook actually. He doesn't like hot humid weather so he did rule out most of the south at some point.
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  • blossomblossom 10418 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Not that you asked... but I would be worried about burnout if this had been any of my kids. We required household chores, visits to the elderly grandparents, volunteer work/attendance at religious events. Not everything in a kids life can be about sports, work, and getting into college. Grandma turning 90- that was more important than a college visit. If that meant shooting off an application to a place nobody had visited- oh well, the viewbooks and videos are online. It's not like it's 1830 where kids got off a stagecoach to see the campus for the first time.
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  • cypresspatcypresspat 628 replies11 threads Member
    Fortunately, we made it to grandma’s 90th bday party too this summer. But I agree with your sentiment. I absolutely want him to blow something off and just be a kid lots this summer. On the other hand, he is a lot like me - the road to boredom is very short....and then we are miserable. But I wish he could completely detach from anything academic for the summer; read some science fiction instead of science.
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  • cypresspatcypresspat 628 replies11 threads Member
    Okay, now I am getting worried. He was completely unaware that the SAT II results came out today. I had to remind him when he got home from work. Who this person?????? He casually picked up his phone, checked his scores, asked if 780 was ok, and then went upstairs to take a shower.
    He’s a pod person.
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  • 17scholars17scholars 6 replies3 threads New Member
    I suspect our D20 is overwhelmed.
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  • cypresspatcypresspat 628 replies11 threads Member
    @mathmom totally agree....looking at the specifics of the academics one will get in college seems to make a ton of sense, doesn’t it? But this is really raining on MY parade. This is my last rodeo and I think that the quality of Parent’s Weekend should be in play here, don’t you? And nearby shopping. And golf courses. I like to golf. I don’t think I am asking for too much but my son does. Looking at chem labs is a total buzz kill when we then don’t have time to check out the botanical gardens and the student center. I need to find a neighborhood kid who needs someone to visit some New England LACs with them. My kid sucks the fun out of college visits completely. My older kids were no fun too. Both focused in on state schools early and did the visits on their own.
    None of my whining is having any impact on my kid at all. Nada. This may need to backfire. I am thinking that once he has finally picked THE ONE, I begin planning my outfit for orientation. And then top it on move in day. School colors, of course. Head to toe. Payback time. I can be patient.
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