Junior Year! Where should my son/daughter apply?
Our three kids are always busy with school, university, and life in general. When I ask them if they can help with chores I often hear, "I just have a huge assignment tomorrow" or "I really need to work." Sometimes I will get, "Do you know how stressful my life is Mom?"
When I hear this I want to scream, "I do get it! And do you know what, I have three kids, we live in a foreign country, I work! On top of that, I look in the mirror with frustration; I am no longer that girl who can pass for someone in the thirties, my hair is thinning, my clothes are fitting snugger than I would like and I don't always have time to go to the gym. I am not your slave! Chores are a part of life kiddo - get used to it!"
So in reality I don't necessarily say that, but it is running through my mind as I let them know helping family members and doing chores is part of life.
To add to all of this comes the question I am getting from left, right, and center. "What Universities will you be visiting this summer? Where has he applied? What program will he do to boost his chances?"
My inbox is inundated with emails for University visits and info sessions. I know if this is stressing me it must be stressing him.
When I was a kid it was simple; you go to a local University close to home. I applied, I went, easy! My eldest did this as well. I did nothing to help her get into school.
In the last few years, things have changed. We are in a foreign country, our kids in an international school and the pressure is on to prance around the world shopping for the best fit. I grasp my head wondering, "How crazy is this? This will cost a fortune!"
With a junior in High School and hearing from all, "You really need to visit a few!" My husband, and I cracked and decided he should visit a school. Off the two of them flew for a Dad and son experience in Berlin. His conclusion after this costly adventure was, "Mom, Dad, I want to get some work experience first. I don't need a degree for what I want to do, and I have a plan!"
He sounded so clear and sure of himself, rather than freak out a sense of calm came over me. My husband and I did not say no; instead, we discussed his plan.
No, we are not crazy for entertaining this idea because it is HIS idea, well thought through and it makes some sense.
So if you ask me, "What schools are we visiting?" I will have to tell you, "None for the moment."
This adorable son of ours is almost seventeen; he is going to be just fine. HE will make a choice, and HE will do the work to get there. We will coach, help, assist, play devil's advocate and pull the finances if his plan is too far-fetched, but we will certainly let him take the lead in his life– after the chores of course.
–Allison Ochs, Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife