Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's all Greek to her.

Ancient History.  The Classics. Greek and Roman Mythology.....with a minor in Film Studies.  How about that?  This my dear readers is what my lovely daughter wants to study in university next year.  She has come a long way from wanting to be a veterinarian.  I'm not really sure if she actually wanted to do that or if her father and I were pushing her in that direction.  There was a time when she loved animals so much that it seemed natural, but all that has changed now.

Lots of things have changed for her in the last few years.  She has grown up, matured, found something she is passionate about, traveled to Scotland, England, France, Germany, Belgium and beautiful British Columbia.  At 17 she has had more worldly experiences than many and certainly more than I had had at that age.  I did not really start to travel the world until I was 19, so she has a good head start on me.

The environment she has grown up in is so vastly different from what my reality was at her age.  I am continually surprised by how much she knows that she has not even experienced largely due to the Internet and the world at her fingertips.  The library is a thing of the past now. Just Google it - it's so simple.  In about 9 months, the same time it took my body to nurture her into being, she will be taking the next big step in her life. 

I am not one of those parents who frets and worries about her leaving.  I am actually excited for her, knowing that the next few years will be some of the most wonderful years of her life.  She will make life long friends, learn how to fend for herself, fill her brain with knowledge, get up to a bit of mischief maybe (currently she is a self-professed geek), so I hope she does let loose a bit and hopefully figure out who she is and what her soul's path is in this life.  I am so fortunate.  She has been easy.  Not perfect, but never difficult.  She marches to her own drum and is not a follower.  Sometimes that can be a bit lonely for her I imagine, but it suits her and it certainly makes life easier for me.

I have never had to worry about her getting into a car with other kids who are under the influence.  She does not hang with that kind of crowd.  She is very conscious of what is right and wrong and she is almost a bit too cautious sometimes, but again, I rarely worry she is making the wrong choices.  I still wonder how the hell she came from me sometimes.  It does speak to how your environment plays a key role in one's development though.  She grew up in a peaceful, loving and supportive home as an only child, so she did not even have a sibling to influence her decisions.  She knows I was a bit of a wild child and she loves hearing tales of my own misspent youth, but she does not feel the  need or desire to follow suit (thank god).

She has spent the past two weekends touring her top two picks for university.  One is in Ottawa and the other in Peterborough.  Either is fine with me - but time will tell where she ends up.  For now, she needs to work to get the grades to get in - that is the current challenge.  How badly does she want it?  That is really the question.  She is beyond capable, but she is typical in some ways when it comes to being a teenager.   Focus is not her strong suit.  Nor is time management and organization.  I do believe she will get there.  But it won't come easy.  This term will determine her course, so it is critical to do well.  That is a lot of pressure at 17.  I don't know if I could  have done it.  I went back to school at 24 as a mature student - I was not even close to ready after high school.  I went to the school of "travel" instead.  It was the right route for me, but it is not for everyone. 

I dropped out of community college after one year of a two year program and hit the road, backpack slung over my shoulders and no bloody idea of what I was doing or even where I was going other than I was landing in Amsterdam and I would figure the rest out when I got there.  Pretty ballsy now when I think about it - but at the time it was all I wanted to do.  See the world.  Get the hell out of Dodge.

If she came to me next summer and said she wanted to do the same thing I am not sure how I would respond.  It's a different world now.  I hitched rides all through Europe, took the odd train, had a few close calls with danger but survived to tell the tales.  Those days are long gone.  Her experience would need to be more planned, safer, more structured.  I grew up without any of the safety nets our kids have now.  Why would it have been any different trekking around the world without a plan or seat belts, or a specified destination at the end of the day?  I do wonder if we have coddled our kids too much. 

In any case, she is about to venture away without me and although her reality will be vastly different from mine, it will be her adventure with her signature on it and that is what really matters.

The world of academia awaits.  You go girl, my sweet child.


Beth said...

We've been touring campuses with Emily, too. And like you, I'm feeling great excitement about what lies ahead for her!

Carla Sandrin said...

You've got a good attitude about letting Emma go. I'm not quite so generous and am secretly hoping Matt will stay fairly close by...