Thinking Out Loud

September 5, 2009

Moving on to the Next Chapter in Life

Filed under: family, parenting — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:01 am

Yesterday we drove our firstborn to his university to pick up his student card.   Tomorrow we’ll officially move him there.   It’s only about 40 minutes from our home; there will be daily e-mails, I’m sure; and he’ll be coming home most weekends.   Heck, if he had his full license he could commute daily, but the residence experience will be good for him, even if we can only afford it in first year.

It’s an experience I regret not having.  Growing up in Toronto and attending the University of Toronto may have seemed like a good and economical decision at the time, but I think much of  college and university learning takes place outside the classroom.    Besides, he’s been away for ten weeks this summer, so it’s not like it will be as big a deal to him as it will be to me.

There.  I said it.   I’m having a hard time adjusting to the fact we’re moving on to another chapter in life.   He leaves with our hopes and dreams fully invested in who he is and who he is becoming.    But also my fears and concerns as to where the next few months will take him.

Mixing with people of different faiths and holding to different philosophies.   Dealing with the temptations that always accompany college dorm life.   Having to handle a myriad of things on his own that we’ve always handled for him.   The whole spectre of the H1N1 virus and its impact on students in dormitories.   The security of his personal possessions, food, textbooks.   Having to drive 40 minutes there and 40 minutes back each Friday to pick him up, and then the same on Sunday to return him to the campus.    (If you’ve done this before, here’s where you jump in with your comments…)

University LibraryBut it’s also exciting for him to be going to the next level.   As he waited nearly an hour for his student card to be processed, I wandered the campus going from building to building, just as I did a lifetime ago in each of the 100-plus buildings that make up the University of Toronto campus.   Each floor, each stairwell yielding classrooms, offices and common rooms built mainly for  expanding the horizons of the next generation.

His campus is much smaller, about a dozen-plus buildings that he should be able to master in the first week.    It’s on the northern border of a medium sized city in a rather remote section that should be free of the distractions I encountered on a campus situated squarely in the heart of downtown Toronto.    It will also be easier to get to know both faculty and students in that setting.    It’s also a state-of-the-art high-tech facility, or at least, so we’ve been led to believe.

Where will all this lead?   We don’t know.   He’s not even sure which particular branch of engineering he wants to major in.    (For those of you who know me personally, think about it…my offspring in an engineering program!)   But standing still isn’t a healthy option, so onward we go.

I miss him already.

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