The “Value” of College

As the saying goes:  No pain, no gain.

This one goes out to all my friends who have teenagers in the middle of the dreaded Junior year of high school.

Most of us with children this age understand that angst, stress, and volatile emotions characterize the year.  Let’s face it, Junior year is no picnic.  The college process infiltrates everything and seems to be in the air our teenagers breathe, they cannot escape the relentless slog of grades, APs, standardized tests, college prep…what a drag.


And yet, the college tours are actually quite wonderful and provide a welcome break from the myopic world of high school.

My recent trip with Katie can be neatly summed up by plagiarizing (dare I say it!) the famous credit card advertisement:

College process…painful.

College tours…priceless.

Driving all over New England and sharing the wheel with my relatively inexperienced permit-holding daughter…Painful.

Dining at my favorite restaurant in my old college town with my daughter, the very person I used to dream about having as I sat in the same place with my roommate over 25 years ago…Priceless.


Walking through a campus tour without snow boots during a surprise blizzard in New Hampshire…Painful.

Watching my daughter’s eyes light up as she wondered along the same paths where Jeff and I met…Priceless.

Trying and failing to drive down snow coated roads and getting trapped in New Hampshire for an extra night…Painful.

Arriving at breakfast the next morning and having an impromptu reunion with people we met 7 years ago on a family trip; remembering our two daughters as young 10 year old girls and watching them reunite as confident young ladies…Priceless.

Flying across the country and getting delayed due to weather….Painful.

Discovering that Jeff’s former roommate at Lawrenceville and his daughter (who coincidentally was Katie’s former roommate at Lawrenceville) are in the same city and winding up all together for a night out on the town…Priceless.

Waking up way too early to catch a flight to Philadelphia with barely enough time to make the next tour…Painful.

Spending an evening with Jeff’s old pals from college and their children who have been a part of our “family” forever….Priceless.

Watching my daughter anxiously listen to the impossible admission stats quoted in the college info sessions…Painful.

Sharing quality time together to discuss the future and the dreams and possibilities it holds..Priceless.

In spite of all the hurdles of Junior year, the finish line promises such a wonderful prize.  On the tours, I was wistful of my youth and reminisced at the thrill of having the malleable future loom before you.  Who wouldn’t take the opportunity to return to college?

After the pain, comes the glory…and that is priceless.



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