Monday, September 21, 2015

College Admissions Slush Pile

Now that we're my son we're (it really is a family affair to some extent for pretty much everyone I know) in the thick of the college admissions process, I decided it was time to clear out a few distractions. Namely, the large and growing pile of printed material that's been keeping the US Postal Service in business for the last 1.5 years. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor darkness or night can prevent college recruitment materials from filling our mailbox.


Behold, a pile roughly 14 inches high built of postcards, letters, brochures, and hope. Just as starry-eyed writers send off manuscripts that never garner more than a glance from editors at the big publishing houses, so, too, do colleges send my son college recruitment materials. They present their best, sunniest, most culturally diverse and glossiest versions of themselves, only to be piled up and crushed under the weight of one the ones that come after.

At first I passed everything on to my son without comment, but eventually I realized he only bothered to open a small amount. He also began to clarify his vision for the types of schools that interested him, so I began to filter lest he run out of space to store his clothes on his bedroom floor.

Small liberal arts college? Not his thing. Design school? Nope. Large state universities outside of the Midwest? Straight to recycling. (Sorry, UT Austin.)

In recent months, the postcards have been replaced by denser materials, some as thick as small books. If I can still recall the details next May after my son has committed to a school, maybe I'll share a few of the biggest hits and misses. Hint: if I spend more time wondering how much time and money it took to produce and mail your piece than actually reviewing its content, it's a miss. 

Not pictured is the pile of materials from schools of interest. That was about 5 inches high, mostly due to multiple mailings:  Come to open house for prospective students! Check out our summer program for high school students! Visit our fabulous campus! That's been pared down to relevant application information and visit days that are still in the future. 

And thank goodness, because now my sophomore is already starting to receive college recruitment materials!




Wednesday, September 02, 2015

One Difference Between Having Toddlers and Having Teens

One difference between having toddlers and having teens is that when the kids are little, it's easy to gain weight from snacking on their unfinished meals. You remember the crusts they didn't want, the big bowl of Mac and Cheese they never finished?

(Oh, I loved those. I can't imagine buying the blue box stuff without kids in the house, but it is a guilty pleasure/comfort food even if the "cheese" is like 95% artificial gunk.)

With teens it's the opposite. I'm about to bite into my sandwich when a man-child suddenly appears by my side. Can I have a bite? A teen boy does not take a mere nibble; he leaves me with crumbs.

When they were little, we were very firm about not eating again after dessert, or at least a certain time before bed. Now at 10:00 at night, I hear the microwave beeping. Time for second dinner! They either eat the evening's leftover dinners or grab a frozen meal.

Fruit will be consumed if it's rinsed/peeled/chopped and put out in a bowl. But God forbid they have to do that themselves. This, like waking a certain child up most mornings, kills me on a certain level, but I know if I don't bother preparing fruit, they'll consume every processed carb in the house instead. Actually, they'll eat the fruit and then hunt down the processed carbs anyway because their growing, athletic bodies are calorie-burning machines. They have several before their metabolism catches up with them.

At any rate, if I look like I've lost weight, it's because my boys have eaten all the food.