My second daughter is about to start her junior year in high school, and, since several of the colleges are far away, we are in the middle of an early road trip as I write. The slices have piled up, and I have wrestled with what to write, but, in keeping with the academic nature of the blog, I have chosen the most academically related one.
We have toured two campuses so far, and I have to say that one of them (I will not name the university) impressed me much less than I thought it would. Here's why:
- On the back of every toilet stall that I used was information about drinking and instructions in case anyone has alcohol poisoning.
- The classroom that we were proudly shown was a lecture hall with about fifty very comfortable chairs that were immobile other than the swiveling action. These chairs were positioned on levels to face the front podium.
- Although the room had several technological features--there was a computer in the front by the podium, a television in the back (I'm not sure how the back row would access it, though), and speakers all around--there were chalkboards in the front. I haven't seen chalkboards in a while. Do people still use them? My daughters don't understand it when I complain about squeaking chalk on fingernails on a board. (Both give me goosebumps.)
- Our tour guide proudly told us about his relationships with professors. One was based on how his professor helps him to use mathematical formulas correctly, and the other was about how he and his professor love to talk about and analyze the latest X-Box games.
- He also told us about the food, the dorms, the extra-curricular activities, the various traditions, parties and celebrations, the sporting events, and the conversations with his professors about professional athletes.
- Julia and I went to the town to have lunch and one of the two people I know who goes there was waitressing at an Irish pub, so we had lunch there. It was a forgettable meal, although I was happy to see our friend. "It's not the best food, really," she said as I paid. "Mostly, it's a drinking place."
I told my daughter that I am working hard at not making judgements, since I do want the decision to be hers. I'm actually really interested in watching her process information, tours, cultures, and climates of various places. I've reminded her that it's summer, so it's very different than when school is in session, and she should keep that lens on when envisioning herself at any of these places. However, I will make a couple of judgements in the safe environment of my TWT community--Julia should really read my blog!
Where's the excitement about learning???? What is the college experience about? For $250,000, we will get more than safe drinking environments and knowledge about how to work mathematical formulas, right? I know that the answers to these questions are probably more what I want them to be at this particular school, that what came across yesterday, and I do think that this university does great things and involves students in powerful learning opportunities. However, if Julia does end up choosing between this school and others, I will be looking hard at how and what kind of learning is valued!
Off to see more! Happy slicing!