Reflections Of A Father Who Is Getting Ready To Send His Daughter Away To College

crawford hall

When I was looking at colleges, my Dad drove me out to Grove City College for a campus visit and an admissions interview.  I had never heard of the school before, but my Dad encouraged me to check it out based on a scholarship opportunity through the Presbyterian Church.  I remember pulling up in front of Crawford Hall one summer afternoon.  This is the first building most visiting high school students see when they come on campus, and it’s where potential students meet with admissions staff.

I remember meeting with my admissions counselor while my Dad waiting in the waiting room.  While I was being interviewed, my Dad was paging through the information about the college, and he discovered a name from his college days at Bethel College in Minnesota.  One of his English professors and her husband were now on staff at Grove City College.  And at the end of my interview, Dr. Arnie Sodergren and my Dad came into my interview.  I don’t remember all the details, but it seemed like it was more of an opportunity for my Dad and Dr. Sodergren to catch up then it was for my Dad to ask questions about the college.

Afterwards, we toured the campus and started our journey back across Pennsylvania to our home in New Jersey.

When I became a student at Grove City College, I always felt a connection when I ran across the Sodergrens in Rockwell Hall, Buhl Library, or somewhere else on campus.  They always asked about my family.

Fast forward twenty-five years (or so).

On Friday, we took Hannah, our oldest child, to Grove City College for a campus tour, her interview, and a chance to meet the cross-country and track coaches.  We arrived on campus early, so we decided to take our own walking tour.  We walked through the new Student Union and Pew Fine Arts Building before we headed back to Crawford Hall.  As we were walking past Rockwell Hall, I noticed a familiar face – Dr. Sodergren.

I called out his name, and he stopped to chat for a few minutes.  Of course, he asked how my parents were doing.  And I learned that he retired four years ago, but he still comes back to campus to do independent research.  He seemed happy to be retired, and he seemed happy to still have involvement in the Grove City College community.

The rest of the day was great.  Hannah had her interview, and we met with the coaches who spent a good deal of time with us.  We met a friend for lunch in town before coming back to campus for our tour.

I’m not sure where Hannah will end up going to college.  She has narrowed her list to three schools that all have their benefits.  We are trying to keep an open mind without pushing her to hard towards our college.

The year ahead will be an adventure for sure.  Hannah will complete her college applications.  We will decide on a college.  She will graduate high school, and we will send her on to the next stage in her educational career.  This stage of our parenting lives has come along very quickly.  It seems like yesterday when we watched her board the yellow school bus in front of our house for her first day of first grade.  Now, she jumps into her little yellow Chevy Aveo on her way to cross-country practice, her job at Chick-Fil-A, or to youth group at our church.

As we enter this final year of high school for our “little” girl who is quickly growing up into a beautiful young lady, we will do our best to make the most of every opportunity.  We will celebrate the accomplishments.  We will grieve the rapid passing of time.  And we will embrace a bright, unknown future.

What do you remember about visiting your college for the first time?  How are you preparing your kids to launch to the next stage of their lives?