A few years ago, when our nieces were still in the midst of their middle school angst, we made a promise that when the time came to choose the right university, we would be happy to accompany them through the selection process. They left the comfort of the familiar warm summer of Manila to be pummeled with winter winds and icy temperatures that worm their way up your sleeves, numb your ears, and make your nose run like broken taps. We figured they might as well get a taste of the New England weather at the cusp between winter and spring.
We used our sister-in-law’s place in Chappaqua, New York, as our home base. We left before dawn and made our way to Cambridge, MA, where we wanted to start the journey. We would tour however many universities Boston and its environs has cradled for many a school term.
Walking around and listening to prospective students and their parents’ comments and questions brought me back to those years when we went through these familiar paths. That was about 8 years ago now. How time has flown. All this reminded me of birds prodding their offspring to the edge of a tree branch so they would learn to spread their wings and fly.
We visited quite a few storied institutions. Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Brown, Yale, and NYU. After the weekend, we will make our way again for a few more. Then we will head westward for the likes of Stanford, Cal, and Pomona.
I remember the pendulum swings between encouragement and parental protective tendencies. In the end, we chose to help with opening the doors and letting our child soar.