I never got to choose my college. My father wanted me to attend BYU. He convinced everyone he knew to steer me toward BYU. The only school we visited was a trade school in San Francisco I had heard of, so he could show me how poorly it compared to BYU. So I ended up--where else?--BYU. And it was a good experience . . . but I've always felt I missed some vital experience by not participating more in the decision. Now I know I did.
Last year Mykell and I had a six hour drive to visit the University of Iowa. The car discussion revolved around her hopes and dreams for the future, her insecurities and fears, and imagining her life away from home. When we arrived in Iowa City, we walked through the vibrant downtown area like students, got T-shirts, toured the campus, and stayed up late eating sandwiches and ice-cream in our hotel room. As a result of that trip, she made UofI her runner-up school, but more importantly, she knew her parents cared for her and would help her through all life's difficult decisions. I missed that experience with my parents.
This year I've been driving Bryce to his top colleges. A few weeks ago we visited the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Friday we saw Purdue. Rose-Hulman comes in July. The long drives and conversations are much the same as last year's with Mykell. Plans are being made. Options are being weighed. And the pressure of such an important decision is crushing. I can see why my father stepped in. But I think I could have made an intelligent college decision myself. That thought was brought home to me as Bryce and I walked across the Purdue campus to tour the different dorm rooms. Some things just feel right.
"I'm realizing just how little time I have left at home with my parents," Bryce said. "And I think I need to take better advantage of your knowledge while I'm around."
"Okay," I said, just a little curious.
"So, what should I look for when I buy my first house?" he asked.
Now see, that's how easy the college decision should be. It looks like we have a future Boilermaker in our midst. Next major decision, please.