Monday, September 07, 2009

No-Labor-Whatsoever Day

Enjoying this holiday weekend in Michigan, where we will be for the next month or two, maybe longer, who knows? The autumn is a blank and mysterious slate just waiting for Brian and me to write upon it with new jobs and adventures. Meanwhile, we have kicked off said autumn with a fabulous holiday weekend that included my first on-campus Michigan State tailgate, Brian's high-school reunion, bowling, very little sleep (at least during normal sleeping hours), and ridiculous amounts of beer. Ridiculous, I say.

I decided that I like the Michigan State campus a lot. Perhaps it was all the build-up of hanging out with so many Spartans in Blondie's in New York for the last two years -- but seriously, it's a great campus. I like the vibe. I like to think about college campuses. I am always fascinated by that choice of where to go to college. Most people making that all-important choice are, like, 16. Maybe 17, if they're lucky. And where to even begin?

I recall the brochures that started flooding my Phoenix mailbox back when I was in high school from universities around the nation, after we took the PSAT. Every new brochure that came intrigued me, but without visiting multiple schools, how is someone to know which is the right place for her? Most people default to their parents' schools or other family schools, as well as the local universities and the big ones in their home state, because those colleges are necessarily on their radars. It was this strong parental pressure that found me with a scholarship to BYU, but I was clearly not meant to be there, and ended up transferring away. Who knows if I was any more "meant" to be at USC ... it was stupidly expensive, but I had amazing journalism faculty and made a life for myself in Los Angeles because I went there.

I do stick by my original criterion that, all things being equal, it is a better idea to go to college out of state than in-state, and for god's sake at least leave the town/city in which you grew up. That is something I knew deep within myself even at the time, so maybe the 16-year-old self does know something about picking what one wants/needs from a university, even if it took me a couple of tries. I do not under any circumstances (NOT. ANY.) support going to the school down the street. I don't care who you are and what street the school is down. I don't care if you already think you're in the greatest city in the world. Get the f out and explore something new for four years. I was painfully reminded of this every day at Hofstra by all the Long Islanders who were so clueless about the world outside that little piece of land. Scary stuff.

I also think about travel ... if my kids ever want to take a year off and travel before university I will support that so strongly. If not, and they do go directly to college, then they are sure as hell going to study abroad while in school. And then I am going to come visit them wherever they are.

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