“Preparing for The Big Day”

partyToday is the big day.

The hype is crazy!

Yep, it’s the day before my daughter’s eighteenth birthday.

What? You thought I meant some other event?

What could be more exciting than the day before a young woman might be legally eligible for the military draft? She’s planning to start college in the fall, but an involuntary tour of duty in the Middle East might be an interesting diversion. But just in case we elect leaders who will actually do something about national defense and spare my daughter from having to suit up in fatigues, we’re moving ahead with college, scholarship and financial aid applications.

It’s been like a part-time job helping her fill out all those suckers.

It’s not just about grades and standardized test scores anymore. They want to know ev-ver-ry-thing about her/our life: accomplishments, involvement, challenges, income, service hours, life philosophies, religious affiliations, political persuasions, diet preferences, genetic makeup, skeletons in closet, bodies in trunk and on and on. Admission department staffers should really just follow kids on social media to get the complete 411.

Duh, that’s how I find out about my kids’ lives.

It peeves me that financial aid eligibility is dependent upon parents’ income. Whatever our income, who says we’re going to pay for our kids’ college education? Nobody gave me a free ride. I worked my tail off to put myself through college. Sure, my parents sent occasional care packages of food and petty cash, but other than that it was my own blood, sweat, tears and brown-nosing that earned me my diploma. I’ll give my kids occasional props to help with their education if/when they need it and if/when they deserve it like my parents did, but I believe things are more valued when you earn them yourself.

For some idiotic reason, I took Physics 1010 in college to fill a physical science requirement. The course is basically a torturous regime of scientific story problems. Though not a science buff I am a story buff, but Dr. Mhasalkar didn’t care for my witty narratives. She expected me to know if a ten-pound rock fell from an eleven-story building and there was a Beaufort Scale wind factor of four, how fast would the rock be going when it reached the second story? My answer was “Who cares, just get off the sidewalk!”

Yeah, by midterm I was flunking, though not for lack of trying. I’d never studied so hard in my life, but my right-brain dominant intelligence just couldn’t compute such complexities. So, I charmed the engineering major who lived next door into tutoring me in exchange for home-cooked meals.

I had to pass the class.

I paid my own hard-earned money for it and I wasn’t about to flunk and waste it. I had friends whose parents picked up the collegiate tab and they flunked classes and didn’t care because it wasn’t their money to lose. It was the lowest grade I’ve ever earned, but I was ecstatic to receive a C-, the minimum passing grade.

My daughter will be a legal adult tomorrow so it’s time for her to start taking on adult responsibilities, like voting. Let’s hope she votes for leaders who believe in taking on adult responsibilities.

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