What Are We All Searching For?


Tour at MMU

A group walks to parking lot during IPCW at MMU.

Last week was Iowa Private College Week, and on Wednesday I was part of the crew that greeted prospective students at Mount Mercy University and answered their questions.

Also, ate lunch and had an afternoon snack with them. Duties that I performed admirably, if I say so myself.

It took me back a few years to when my children were seeking colleges. IPCW is a good opportunity to see lots of colleges and consider which one makes sense for being “home.”

The sense of “fit” seemed to be what drew most of my kids to their colleges. My youngest son is a student at Iowa State, and my youngest daughter studies at Creighton University. Two other daughters graduated from Simpson College, another from Mount Mercy. My oldest son is an ISU grad.

In our  college touring years, we joked during IPCW that there were several key points to consider in visiting colleges:

  • Did they offer a cool T Shirt? MMU switched to sunglasses this year, not a terrible idea, but still, For my family, the shirt was a key piece of IPCW swag, and the shirt of the “winning” college was often proudly worn.
  • What was the lunch like? Clarke University in Dubuque scored points for an apple-Snickers salad, although they didn’t score enough to get one of my kids as a student.
  • Where restrooms easy to find and was there time to visit them? OK, this was my own personal point. Every college offered water/coffee/soft drinks and a free meal—and you can’t be giving caffeine to an old man without thinking of the consequences.

I hope our MMU guests enjoyed IPCW and many of them will become Mustangs. Our central campus is a bit ripped up right now, with the building of a new University Center, but you can start to see how much nicer and more “central” the center of campus will be when the project is complete in a few weeks.

What are we all looking for? A place to call home for four years, which will help guide young people at a critical developmental time of their young adult lives.

I hope for many of you, MMU will be that home.

By the way, there was a great parenting moment at a transfer registration today. I dread when transfer students, who are usually over 20, have mom or dad at their sides helping to make decisions. It’s a bad move for parents of freshmen, and totally out of place for parents of college juniors. Anyway, one young woman had mom with her, but mom wasn’t at the table. We were considering an evening class to enroll her in, and the student wanted to consult with mom about whether that was a good idea.

She brought her mom over. The student outlined the issue and asked mom what she should do.

“Whatever you want to,” mom said, or words very much like that. “It’s your decision.”

Then, mom walked away.

It was one of the best “mom” answers I had ever heard. Although slightly flustered, for a minute, the student paused and decided to take the class. And she was happy and joking about the incident—displaying confidence. Mom told her to make up her own mind and walked away so she could do so.

Wow. Among other things, we’re all looking for moms who are willing to ground the helicopter. That’s what I’m looking for. Parents who treat college-age kids as adults.

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