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Thursday, December 13, 2012

High School Hysteria

I remember a lot about Dumont High.....I pretty much enjoyed most of that time block and was sorry to see it end. It was the mid to late seventies. I remember my clothes [corduroy, denim, flannel], my friends, the fun we had. Being me, I remember lunch in the cafeteria, and the big, soft [rubbery] pretzels. And I remember working very hard on the cross-country team every fall and the track team every spring. I was a long distance runner, and also in CYO and on the student council and worked part-time in between. So I was busy.

But I don't remember shouldering a lot of schoolwork/academics, or at least pulling an all-nighter, until near the end of senior year, for some final essay or report. And I only applied to one college--the one I went to. I don't remember a single thing about the process except that it was for early admission.

I look at Figgy and I worry. There she sits, a high school senior at her grandparents' mahogany dining room table--the one my mother and father set with a Quaker lace tablecloth and good dishes for birthdays, holidays and First Communions. Fig is working on her college applications. The general word from the guidance counselors @ Montclair High [and I guess everywhere?] is that kids should apply to safety schools, target schools and reach schools--so they have a sweeping net, and loftier goals. Most kids, I gather, apply to seven or eight [Figgy, too].

Her cell phone keeps buzzing with texts. I told her to put it in another room, but I can still hear it from my office. She has Pandora radio playing on the laptop--soothing, calming music as she writes the essays...about why she's a good fit for this college or how she thinks she will be changed by four years at that one.

Our goal was to get all the apps in before we leave for Florida on Sunday, December 23. Now, I don't know. The thing with applying for art is that the apps are due now and the portfolios have a deadline that is further off...mid-January, February 1, etc. For FIT, Fig has to send photos of her fashion illustrations and of up to three garments that she sewed...front and back views, on mannequins, I think....and she only has two she wants to submit. H. and I think she should include the hand-sewn pink satin and pearl dress with lace sash, but she's resistant. That's ok, I says maximum of three. But nevertheless, we've hired a private sewing teacher and she's coming Saturday morning and Fig is going to start stitch by stitch on a cute sheath dress.

This is Montclair...I know at least three friends/acquaintances who have enlisted the help of "college consultants" to get their kids through the process--to set the schedule, monitor the progress, see that deadlines are met. 

That would be nice, but there is only so much money to spend, and you do have to keep these things in perspective....according to me, who just hired a private sewing teacher. Because while H. and I can readily handle essay edits, we can't for the life of us run a sewing machine.

Anyway, when I look @ 17-year-old Figgy, it just seems like so much. Having to manage many different things at once, which college wants this, which wants that, different dates, send SAT scores, self-report transcripts, etc. This process isn't just prepping Figgy for college but also, I think, for a job where she can keep many balls in the air. To her credit, she's also fitting in time for cupcake baking for a friend's surprise party [she made British flags in icing], long baths and showers, the football game, the Classic Film Club [which she loves].

But I watch, and I worry.

Good night and good luck, sweet Fig. Your life is ripening day by day. May it be all that you are hoping for.

  1. Walked Sug around block once.
  2. Private Benjamin.

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