“All glory comes from daring to begin.” -Eugene F. Ware
CAUTION: This is a long one.
I apologize for not blogging for a few days. I have been working on the blog below and traveling. These blogs are hard because I know very soon I will be an empty nester, with all of my babies off to their own lives, and I will be beyond sad. I love my children more than any of them will understand and enjoy spending time with them. So, here this story goes…
Mini-me thought all of her plans were laid out. She had her college all picked out, knew what she was majoring in, and even minoring in, knew her dates for orientation, had her move in date, and even knew her dorm room number and who her roommates would be. Right up until another college that she had applied for sent her an acceptance letter with a scholarship offer. Then another.
I am very proud of mini-me. She applied to five colleges, some closer to home, some farther away, and was accepted into all of them. She is a very bright young lady with one heck of a future ahead of her. Two of the schools she applied to gave her significant merit and academic scholarships and she is in pretty good shape where all are concerned, so we went to tour the campuses to help her decide. Touring colleges with a senior at this point in the year is very late. She has to decide and inform the college in less than two weeks. Because of this, we decided to fit four colleges in on a three-day trip.
Day one. College two for consideration. The University of West Alabama (https://www.uwa.edu/). We arrived quite early so we drove around the grounds of the school, around town, and a little outside of town, just to see what was around and the type of environment she would be in. There is nothing out there. I mean absolutely NOTHING. When you first get off the interstate there are a few gas stations and fast food restaurants, but they really aren’t readily accessible to the campus. Around town, we found two coffee shops, a bakery that serves breakfast and lunch, a bar, and a drug store that carries everything from cotton bundles to hair. There are also several run-down houses with a few questionable places. Mini-me quickly canceled that tour. College two is out, so we drove on to tour number three. As our tour was scheduled for the next morning we drove around the campus and area, getting a feel of it, and had dinner at the Pig and Pint (http://pigandpint.com/), which is a great little barbeque place in Jackson. It has a great atmosphere, good food, and has patio seating that is pet friendly. After leaving Pig and Pint, we went to our hotel in Richland (http://hamptoninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/mississippi/hampton-inn-richland-JANRDHX/index.html) to get some sleep. As always, the Hampton Inn was clean and comfortable. The only issue here was the construction in the middle of the highway out front.
Day two. Belhaven University (http://www.belhaven.edu/). This is a beautiful campus and a very small school, with the feel a private high school. An expensive, private, Christian college with small classes and approximately 1,400 students. Nice, comfortable dorms, the one we saw was a four bedroom apartment with a living room, kitchen, and two bathrooms. Great security with close to 400 cameras in order to see all of campus. After meeting with the nursing advisor, college three very quickly became a contender for mini-me.
More of day two. The University of Southern Mississippi (https://home.usm.edu/). Hubs and I liked this one immediately, while mini-me said it was too big. It is a beautiful, well-kept campus that is only one square mile. The dorms are very nice and quite secure, with a check in and out at the front desk so they know who is in the building at all times. Two girls to a room with several study areas throughout the floor and a full kitchen and hang out place at the end of each hall. The classes are still fairly small and the campus has more of a college feel to it. After a tour with a couple of pretty awesome students and meeting with the nursing advisor, college four became a contender.
Day three. Spring Hill College (http://www.shc.edu/). To get to the school and admissions office you have to pass one of two 18-hole golf courses that are a part of the campus. Once there, you see many beautiful buildings that look like they have been forgotten over the last few years. Once inside the admissions building, everything is modern, well kept, and PURPLE. Everything. The couches, the carpet, the wall behind the receptionist, the receptionist’s outfit, the cup she was drinking out of, the binder on the desk, at least some part of every single employee’s wardrobe. It was all purple. Getting past that… which is pretty hard to do, let me tell you!…the tour guide was a freshman who told us the food wasn’t very good and when she first saw her dorm she said ‘Do I really have to live HERE?!‘. The majority of the freshman dorms are a significant distance from the main buildings, making it where they have to walk over a bridge, through a pretty grown up, untended area. They were dirty, rundown, and looked like some pretty questionable apartments. There was no outside doorway opening into hallways like we had seen at ALL of the other colleges, you just walk up and unlock the door to your pod with a key. Once in the pod, you have three rooms to the right and three rooms to the left, two girls per room. Pretty ordinary. Concrete block walls. Inside the pod, there is a very small common area that would comfortably fit three girls that EVERYONE has to share. All twelve girls. Beyond the pitiful looking dorms, the bad food, and the rundown campus…there is a BAR in the student center. While I think it could be merited, with how kids in college are, for the most part, I can’t help but wonder if it’s really the best idea to PROMOTE drinking on a Catholic campus. All in all…the school is definitely not worth the tuition. While her dad and I had already set our minds on the school, this is mini-me’s decision. It didn’t take long for college five to make it to the NO column.
So here we are. Less than two weeks from DECISION DAY. She has pretty much ruled out college number three, with two and five already a definite no, leaving one and four as definite contenders. Oh, the joys of being a senior in high school.