Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

    My daughter and I toured 9 colleges together. It was a great bonding experience that brought us closer together.

    The author and his daughter toured colleges together.

    Last year, my daughter and I took several trips to tour nine colleges.At first, she was shy and awkward on the tours, but I watched as she came out of her shell.In between tours, we had fun and bonded, which was important before she goes off to college.

    When our daughter was born in 2006, the last thing on my mind was the summer before her senior year of high school, during which, it turned out, we’d spend crazy, busy days traveling up and down the West Coast from our home outside Seattle to visit colleges.

    She’d visited the University of Washington, a great school, with her high-school class during her junior year, but she wanted to experience more before deciding where to apply. So in July, we set off on a series of journeys around the West Coast that ended up being not just informative but also fun — and that ended up bringing us even closer together.

    We visited 9 colleges together

    After weeks of anticipation, we hopped on a plane and found ourselves in Los Angeles touring the University of Southern California for our first experience. My daughter was a bit awkward; I had to nudge her toward the check-in desk to announce her arrival. The admission counselor hosting the information session was a recent USC grad who made the university sound amazing.

    I looked over at my daughter to gauge her reaction to it all. All I saw was a vacant stare. Was this good? Bad? Was she just terrified? I really couldn’t tell.

    The tour of USC was good. The guide was enthusiastic, and we came away with a positive impression of the school. Afterward, she finally told me that while the experience was somewhat overwhelming, it was invigorating — this might end up being where she’d spend four years of her young adulthood.

    We spent the next day visiting a few of the Claremont Colleges. Neither of us said it out loud, but we found by midday that we were getting into a groove, understanding each other’s subtle reactions to the guides’ words, the facts, and the figures spewed by the admission counselors during information sessions.

    We made another trip down a few weeks later to visit the University of California, Santa Cruz, and UC San Diego, finding ourselves equally in awe at the beauty of the Santa Cruz campus and the urban behemoth that is the San Diego campus.

    My daughter was a little less shy on this trip. We had hit our stride by this point.

    After viewing nine colleges together, I watched as my daughter came out of her shell. You watch your kids grow up incrementally, but this experience was like watching her take a giant leap forward in maturity in a matter of just a few days.

    When we weren’t on college campuses, we spent time together exploring

    We set ourselves on daily quests to find affordable yet interesting places to eat. We spent time on a San Diego beach one day, took a detour to the Santa Cruz Wharf on a whim, and ended up one day with a few hours to kill before our return flight, so a trip to Santa Monica to collect shells was in order. I also found myself with a new pair of overpriced airport sandals purchased in Santa Ana when the shoes I’d brought along turned out to be torture devices.

    But everything truly coalesced in September when we flew back down to California for her to interview at her first-choice school. We arrived at the airport that evening and drove straight to the school.

    We’d previously been on the campus only in the summer, so most students were away. But now, in the late summer evening, the school was vibrant and alive. We spent over two hours slowly walking around, taking it all in. The nonstop smile on her face told me exactly what I needed to know. She kept looking at me, ever more gleeful, and it was obvious that our shared mission was coming to an end.

    The trips to colleges brought my daughter and me closer together

    At each school, I bought a hat and my daughter bought a sweatshirt or T-shirt. Each represents the time we spent together on this quest. They represent a father and daughter having the fortune and opportunity to spend time together in a quest for that one school that just makes you spin with delight. Even though only one of the hats I now own will be from the school she attends, each represents a momentous summer in our lives as a family.

    Throughout it all, we found ourselves, already a tight father-daughter duo, getting closer because of the experience. Searching for a college can be nerve-racking, but we realized it could also be a fun bonding experience.

    Read the original article on Business Insider


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