My sister went to summer camp for nine years. I never did. I was too busy traveling when I was older and never thought of it while I was younger. But I imagine my college experience was somewhat similar to summer camp: insular, full of fabulously wealthy kids and well landscaped.
I never regretted the decision to go to a small school (at least not right now). I loved my tiny college in Maine. At night, I went to sleep feeling totally safe. I never even locked my door. As an english/creative writing and theater major, I think the main thing I learned in college was the art of bullshit. I can make anything seem true if I can find enough evidence. Maybe that is why so many English majors eventually become lawyers.
Unfortunately for my Dad (and aunt and grandfather and stepmother--all lawyers), I was not into law. I was into creative writing (read: I better marry well). Sometimes R and I talk about what would happen if Samara wanted to major in studio art or creative writing. For him, the idea that she would major in something impractical and non-lucrative is wasteful. For me, it makes perfect sense. Maybe it is because I grew up in a family where there was no pressure to know what I wanted to do with myself immediately. Or maybe it is just a difference in values and expectations. In my family, grad school is for specialization and undergrad is the time to explore and have fun. So, I did. I skiied most weekends, rock climbed, jumped out of airplanes. I acted in several plays, traveled and became close friends with my professors.
I always wondered how I got into Colby. My SAT's scores were less than stellar (now the average is about 1500 to get into the school) and my grades were average. Later, I asked around and one of the admissions officers told me it was because I sent a poetry portfolio. That is the kind of school I hope Samara goes to one day--where they can appreciate talents that are not necessarily academic. And, more importantly, one where they remember each student they admitted and why.
The day I graduated from college (#7, June 1999) was mixed. I had outgrown Camp Colby, but was in no way ready to face the real world. The funny part is, had I known how hard the real world really was, I would have flunked my senior year 10 times. I wish I'd known I would spend the rest of my life missing undergrad. I would have appreciated it more.
We have spent the past week at the lake house kayaking, running, hiking and going to crafts fairs and farmers market. In the four years I was in college, Maine became as much a part of me as Massachusetts and Ohio. So I am grateful that this state--the way life was meant to be--will also factor heavily in Samara's life through the lake house. I hope she will love it like I have.