Announcing the amicable divorce of the Neurotic Parent and typepad.
Thanks to the exporting skills of www.fabulousblogging.com You can find the same blog on www.theneuroticparent.com or www.neuroticparent.com
The design will morph slightly, but the anxiety level will remain the same. See you over there!
Announcing the amicable divorce of the Neurotic Parent and typepad.
Thanks to the exporting skills of www.fabulousbloggin.com You can find the same blog on www.theneuroticparent.com. If you have trouble remembering that, you can also try www.neuroticparent.com
The design will morph slightly, but the anxiety level will remain the same. See you over there!
Announcing the amicable divorce of the Neurotic Parent and typepad.
Thanks to the exporting skills of www.fabulousbloggin.com You can find the same blog on www.theneuroticparent.com or www.neuroticparent.com
The design will morph slightly, but the anxiety level will remain the same. See you over there!
Overheard on various college tours:
1. "We had to find an independent college counselor because ours has never heard of Gallatin and thought that Amherst is test optional."
2. "We know a family that sought out a SAT tutor who was also a tennis pro, so their son could practice vocab while on the court ($1000 a session)."
3. Hottest safety: Northeastern - Their co-op program ensures you'll actually get a cool job. Only problem is that it's not a safety anymore.
4. Hottest new career aspiration: "My older child is working for a fully-funded start-up, but I don't really understand what they do."
5. Top new admissions theory: "This will be the easiest year for full-pay kids."
6. Crescendo-ing neurosis: "Darn...My child doesn't have a chance of getting a job with a liberal arts degree and she wants to study Classics at Princeton." (But poetry awards while still in high school are acceptable, especially if the poetry is about Quantum Physics.)
7. Hottest after-hours locale for touring west coast high schoolers: Bushwick
8. Hottest new extracurricular, the ultimate for resume padding: TedXYouth
10. "I interview for Brown; I feel bad about myself because my own resume at age 52 is nothing compared to the resumes of the kids I evaluate."
So, parents, if we haven't given Ted Talks or performed in Latvia by the time we're 50, it's time to admit we're failures. Instead we can now listen to the wisdom of our nation's 17-year olds, who of course, are sharing their expertise for the good of the world, not so they can get into college.
Somebody has finally noticed that I don't have an IT person. Site renovation in progress, but until then, here are some Qs I just received from a reader, along with my answers:
Q: Could it be only me or does it look as if like some of the responses (on this site) appear like left by brain dead individuals? :-P
A: Worse - I think they're brain-dead robots. I'm sure it's because I dissed robotics at some point.
Q: And, if you are writing on other online social sites, I'd like to follow everything fresh you have to post. Could you make a list of all of your public sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?
A: Facebook: The Neurotic Parent
Huffington Post: J.D. Rothman
Meanwhile, please excuse our dust.
As students drop their 10:45am classes because they are too early, the parents they left behind are rearranging their schedules as well. Here are some panicked queries we have received from readers:
Q: I'm finding I suddenly have some time on my hands. What are some good films that have come out in the last 19 years that I might have missed while I was parenting?
A: Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you are a little out of the loop. Nobody watches films any more. Episodes are the way to go. The first mandatory assignment is to make sure you're up to date on House of Cards, Orange is the new Black, the Newsroom and, of course, two seasons of Homeland. Then you can advance to four seasons of Breaking Bad. And you might have to pull a month of all-nighters to catch up on seven seasons of Madmen, but it will be worth it to be able to once again converse with your peers about something other than carpool rules. I suggest avoiding all dinner parties until you've completed these prerequisites.
Q: So you're saying that most parents of new college students are spending all their time screening full seasons of missed t.v. shows? At a time when they're supposed to be rekindling their romances and traveling the world?
A: Empty nesters do not need travel or romance. They are just happy to sleep through the night. When they had teens at home, they were so exhausted from waiting up that they were unable to stay awake through a single episode of an hour-long drama. Now they have the stamina to screen an entire season at one screening. Makes them feel young.
Q: What if I become so immersed in t.v. reruns that I become shallow and boring?
A: If you've spent the last two decades parenting, it's a little late for that. Complaining about your kids' teachers and coaches and angsting about ACT scores has already made most parents insufferably dull and boring. Just a few hours of binge watching can reverse that condition and, after thirteen episodes, you might even become socially presentable again.
And the best news is that with your kids gone, you might even be able to find the remote. Good luck with the BWS.
When the Neurotic Parent gets overwhelmed with decluttering and finding a job for all her friend's kids, there is nothing like the Onion for tips to share with readers:
How to survive the unbearable separation anxiety when the kids leave for college? Many parents, suddenly feeling obsolete and arthritic, move to farms in Oregon, attend yoga retreats in India, become fanatic cyclists, design outdoor living rooms, organize the old shinguard collection, or even foster a teen. Here are some other suggestions in all budget ranges:
1. Cleanse. You no longer will be tempted by the ubiquitous leftover pizza crusts.
2. Invest in a pied-a-terre in a cool college town...which just happens to be the one where your kid goes to school.
3. Adopt a puppy. Name it after your son or daughter. How sweet it will be when Virgil comes home for Thanksgiving and finds a furry little Virgil in the house, one that obeys curfew and is always fast asleep by 9 p.m.?
4. Stalk your children on Instagram. (They all ditched Facebook when it became overpopulated by boomers.) If you don't "like" any of their photos, they'll never know that you're tracking how often they're holding Solo cups.
5. Get rid of those age spots with a laser treatment. No potlucks or carpools, so you can finally hide out while you recover.
6. Revive your relationship by indulging in a couple's ionic foot bath.
7. Because every penny is now going to educate your child, you probably don't have funds for much of the above - or anything else. So find an affordable sport or hobby, taking advantage of all that expensive equipment you bought for the many activities your child quit after several months. Try French horn lessons, skateboarding, lacrosse, or building a robot.
9. Continue micro-managing your children. Be available 24/7 to edit essays, book flights, replace lost iPhones, provide laundry instructions, and secure internships that will one day help them be rid of you forever.
Frat hedge fund dudes looking for skilled staff:
The last time we took him there was to frolic in the ball pit. Suddenly he's furnishing a whole apartment in a new city with items he will put together himself, like giant Legos. Suddenly he's intrigued by 'birch' and 'console' and the Hemnes eight-door dresser to hold his work clothes.
And he's still a fan of the meatballs. A theme park for real life.
CJ is traveling in a steamy climate before he starts his real world job. How satisfying to still be able to contribute/interfere in his life, especially when he calls to let me know he appreciates my concern:
The hike was ridiculously hot. It's a good thing I had my mesh-lined UV blocking shirt with rear vents for airflow and cooling. Thanks, Mom.
Our son CJ has graduated from college, just moments, it seems after we were the snack parents for the T-ball game. In addition to posing for photos in the pouring rain and the blinding sun, we managed to attend all of the following events, many without the right outfits:
- Dinner with sophomore roommate's family (from New Jersey)
- Baccalaureate ceremony
- President's reception
- Fraternity cocktail party
- Dinner with junior roommate's family (from New York)
- Drinks with current roommate's family (from Honduras)
- Dessert event in the Gardens
- Breakfast at the Stadium
- Commencement procession and ceremony
- Departmental diploma ceremony and reception
- Mother's Day Dinner
- Packfest at the condemn-worthy dwelling where CJ spent his senior year
and, since we've been back:
- Dukan diet to counteract the effects of all of the above
- Graduation BBQ (relatives)
- Pre-K reunion (awww, so sweet....especially the screening of "The World is a Rainbow," with over the top hand motions and class bunny reaction shots from graduation in 1996.)
- BBQ and photo op with kindergarten friend with whom CJ spent the last seventeen years.
And, of course, no round of graduation festivities would be complete without a seven-hour ordeal at the emergency room when GC injured his hand at 11pm the night before the commencement ceremony. There was also the visit to the hand surgeon for a redo of many stiches and other procedures done in the ER. All is fine now, and GC fully participating in his internship with just a bandaid on the injured area - thanks for asking.
But our Machu Picchu plans quickly morphed into a less edgy retreat to Santa Fe, where everyone got a well-deserved deep tissue massage. The Neurotic Parent took a blog hiatus becaus of a) the emotionally overwhelming cap and gown newsfeed on FB and b) a new obsession with virtual apartment hunting for CJ's first real world dwelling. Much to be said about that when I figure out how much can be revealed...and whether I'm invited for the upcoming Ikea run.
NEXT: Where they are now - Paths chosen by kids mentioned in the original 2008 blog
Off to four days of graduation fun, culminating on Mothers Day, a sea of hats celebrating the beginning of the real world for him and the end of tuition payments for us. Like a destination wedding without the Spanx: Eight official events, plus random breakfasts, receptions, cocktail parties, dinners, garden parties, UPS drama and parking nightmares. All in the rain, if you can trust the meteorology majors who predict the weather.
Top clichés that are repeated over and over again:
1. So many emotions
2. Impossible to believe
3. Four (five, six) years flew by
4. My baby - all grown up
5. Me - too grown up
6. He worked so hard
7. So proud (especially of that final grade - an A in Hip Hop Appreciation)
I'm moderating a segment about the insane state of college admissions on HuffPost Live, the new streaming video network. We're looking for fellow neurotic parents who would like to appear via webcam. The producers want to hear true tales from people all over the world, "the crazier their stories, the better." You can remain anonymous, and even wear a ski mask.
Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment if interested.
Three and a half weeks until college graduation. '13 seemed so futuristic back in '09. Here it is. And here I am, about to be the parent of...yikes, a member of the work force.
My diversion at the moment is that we've decided to visit Machu Picchu on the way home. This means I can worry about altitude sickness instead of how this milestone certifies that I am indeed getting very, very old.
Inspirational news from CJ's and GC's little high school: 7 into Stanford, 4 into Yale, 3 into Brown. Several in waitlist limbo, but the kids in our little progressive community are indeed hitting it out of the ballpark. I guess all their parents read The Neurotic Parent's Guide to College Admissions.
As Ivy decisions are released, we have received dozens of emails from parents whose kids are now in limbo. And this message appears on College Confidential:
|College Confidential Message|
The server is too busy at the moment. Please try again later.
QUOTES FROM THE COLLEGE TOUR CROWD:
"NYU tour is full."
"Fordham tour is full."
"Three hundred people on the Tufts tour."
"Saw MC (high school friend)- He says Harvard is EASY compared to high school."
"Autocorrect changes 'Harvard' to 'Barbara' on iPhone."
"Mom, you were supposed to stay on the 95!"
QUOTES FROM PARENTS ABOUT COLLEGE LIFE
"My son goes to the #2 school for hot girls and the #4 school for food."
"Physics at Yale is HARD - Our daughter got the first B of her life."
"The arts are back: STEAM is the new STEM." (this from the head of PR at a major rocket science research organization.
"Our daughter's BF comes from a bad gene pool."
"Our son's GF's family has a private plane."
QUOTES FROM KIDS ABOUT COLLEGE LIFE:
"I never got lower than an A- in high school. Now I'm thrilled with Bs. Science is hard in college."
QUOTES ABOUT THE JOB MARKET:
"The daughter of a family in our building went to Princeton, but hasn't found a job yet because her family doesn't know anyone."
Congrats to all who have been recently accepted at Brandeis, Emerson, Northeastern, Michigan, UCSB, Columbia Law, Duke Law, NYU Law, USC Law, UCLA Law, MIT, CalTech, Harvard, Berkeley, plus a Fulbright.
Full disclosure: Two rock star graduate-level students account for most of these acceptances. Expect some domino waitlist action.
As kids anxiously wait for their decisions, parents become more and more crazed. This year's anxiety is not about whether your kid will get in. Instead parents are panicking about the existential dilemma of whether college is even worth it at all in the long run, especially if your kid's passion is Philosophy or Anthropology.
Here's what readers are asking:
Q: My son wanted to apply to (top midwestern school) as an engineering major. But he was afraid that Engineering is too hard to get into, so he has applied as a Canadian Studies major. Will that help?
A: Sadly, everybody else came up with the same strategy this year and Canadian Studies has become the new hot field of study. But it is a good bet to apply for one of the other 164 majors which people think will result in limited job choices or low-paying careers. In fact, anything other than Econ, Biomedical Engineering and Comp Sci should be less competitive.
Q: Will my daughter have a greater chance of getting into MIT if she's a girl,even though she only scored a 2230 on the SAT?
A: Yes, if she has also built a time travel machine.
Q: Is it possible to catch the flu twice in a semester, even with a flu shot?
A: Yes - two different strains of flus are going around. Pre-med students understand this. Literature majors, not so much, unless they're reading The Plague, by Camus.
Q; Do kids home for spring break really sleep until 2pm, even if that translates to 5pm their time?
A: Make that 3pm.
Q: Hypothetically, my son arrives back in his house at 2am after spring break. The alarm goes off because the landlord set it and he didn't know the code. His roommates are not home. If he calls me (after trying to reach the landlord) and I suggest that he cut the wires, is that helicoptoring?
A: Yes, as long as he pays for the new device out of his summer earnings.
Q: If my daughter is required to receive college credit for her internship, does that mean we have to pay the college $5000 for a summer session so that she can be a legal unpaid worker?
Q: What's this about people getting angry at liberal arts majors who take out college loans? Is there a movement to prevent middle class kids from studying History and Classics? Is it the common belief that liberal arts graduates won't be able to find jobs, unlike STEM majors, who are boring in museums, but awesome with spreadsheets?
A: Wish you had studied English so you could write a clearer question. Sorry, I don't have time to answer. I need to finish my graduate school application for Actuarial Studies.
When I google "Why do," I get only one college-related result:
- Why do fraternities use Greek letters?
The remainder of my results are very provocative:
- Why do we laugh?
- Why do we dream?
- Why do people have red eyes in flash photographs?
- Why do men have nipples?
- Why Do Fools Fall in Love (song)
- Why do competitors open their stores next to one another?
- Why do I forget things?
- Why do I have a belly button?
When I type "How Many" into the Google search bar, here is what comes up:
How many college students change majors NYT
How many college students change majors WSJ
How many college students change majors
How many calories in a banana
Today, 03:40 PM #1 Roger_Dooley Administrator Join Date: Jul 2003 Posts: 6,011
Planned Downtime Early Thursday AM
We've got some server and software maintenance planned for Thursday morning. To minimize the impact on our members, we'll be starting at around 5 AM EST. We should have the work completed within two hours. Thanks for your patience. For you morning people on the US east coast, or for others who normally hang out at CC at that time, the "info" portion of CC will remain up... Roger
03:54 PM #2 kypdurron Junior Member Join Date: Aug 2012 Posts: 182
Thanks for heads up! Though, who would even be on that early?
03:58 PM #3 hangooksaram Junior Member Join Date: Feb 2013 Posts: 95
Students discussing their SAT scores, which are released 4~5am EST Thursday morning(:
04:13PM #4 5 econ981 Junior Member Join Date: Dec 2012 Posts: 220
It looks like you didn't pick a very good time. This is when SAT scores are released.
04:28 PM #5 agreatperhaps Junior Member Join Date: Jan 2013 Posts: 166 ....really? That's EXACTLY when the SATs scores are released, and most of us will be in school by 7 aka this was a bad decision.
05:01 PM #6 TheKongo Junior Member Join Date: Jul 2011 Posts: 142 Because posting your SAT scores is more important than maintaining the site you go on everyday...
05:17 PM #7 Roger_Dooley Administrator Join Date: Jul 2003 Posts: 6,011 Sorry, folks, there is really no "downtime" when CC is inactive. And, the work is important enough that we didn't want to delay it. Thanks for understanding!
05:36 PM #8 nolife Junior Member Join Date: Jan 2013 Posts: 166 Now I'll have nobody to complain to when I find out that I only got 2280 :(
'Nest' is the wrong word for the dwelling. Everyone reports that it's more like an empty retirement home, just two old people taking frequent naps on all the extra beds. Here is what some of the mommy and daddy birds are doing:
- Epic vacations
- Plastic surgery
- Long walks with pets
- Commissioning plans to remodeling the kitchen, canceling because of two tuitions
- Cutting back on the housekeeper
- Skipping dinner, then having wine/popcorn/cereal at midnight
- Catching up on films missed for the last twenty years
- Foster child/adoption (100% true - my awesome cousin did this!)
- All sorts of puppy-related things
- All sorts of cooking-related things
- Finding a life coach
- Volunteering, getting roped into events, taking on responsibility of "table captain"
- Changing careers
- Booking tickets, re-booking tickets
- Having lunch/dinner with fellow ex-soccer parents, reminiscing about bad calls
- Sleeping and not sleeping at odd hours
- Finding graphic artists to help with websites
- Making new friends on College Confidential (other Empties whose freshmen won't answer their texts)
- Stalking the kids on Facebook
I love receiving e-mails from readers, but was a little nervous to open one that arrived from the Executive Director of SAT Programs at the College Board. Had they suddenly discovered a mistake in CJ's math score? How would this affect his upcoming college graduation?Or could they be writing to apologize for getting rid of the analogies, my favorite section?
It turns out that the e-mail was about none of the above, but instead offered solid advice for high school freshmen, encouraging them to be more proactive and how to plan ahead.
I don't usually post serious info here, but if you're concerned that your child hasn't yet mediated a peace conference because he's still trying to figure out how to open his locker, this piece by Jennifer Karan very much warrants a read:
So much here that I wish I had known when my kids were in ninth grade. It doesn't go overboard with resume boosters about prestigious oboe competitions or tips about how to get internships with Stephen Hawking. But it does offer stellar, sensible advice like meet with your counselor early on, plan to take the right courses, and start thinking about what your passion might be.
So if you have a new high school schooler, now's the time to think about the Big Picture before the serious angst sets in sometime during eleventh grade. And as icing on the cake, the College Board has come up with a whole Big Future program, free one-stop shopping that will de-stress the process that lies ahead.
Good work, College Board. Now can we talk about adding a summer test date?
On this occasion of my (first, second, third) sitting for the SAT exams, I beseech the Almighty College Board to look over me and protect me from mis-bubbling. Grant me the strength to avoid the Passive Voice in my essay. Give me the focus to remember the properties of an f(x) = ax² +bx + c function, as well as the meaning of paucity. May I stay awake through the Critical Reading section, even if I get a passage about the process of refining rice husks for Tibetan wax statues. Bless my #2 pencils and protect their points; let me be forever grateful that they are not #1s nor #3s. Save me from realizing at 4:00 AM on the morning of the test that I have left my TI-83 Calculator in the trunk of a friend’s car. O College Board, provide me with the will to resist temptation if my classmates invite me to spend the night before the exam partying in a hot tub, as came to pass in an episode of The Gossip Girls. (Kaplan 119:9, 16)
They were home for a long, long time. But they have now returned to campus life, three time zones away. Some telltale signs that they have left the dwelling:
- Residents of home are awake during the day and asleep at night
- iPhone and Mac chargers remain in their places
- Car radio stays tuned to NPR rather than sports talk or hip hop
- Spotless living room
- Depressed dog
- Untouched leftover pizza in fridge
- Small, delicate loads of laundry
- Full night's sleep
- Credit card charge for car booting in different state
Happy New Year to all. I report with stellar news for neurotic parents everywhere: Just in time for 2013, the crapshootiest year for admissions decisions yet, the moms and dads on the website College Confidential have moved on from stressing about where their kids are accepted.
They now have something much more realistic and attainable on their minds: The clever folks at CC have finally distracted parents from the awful college process by instituting an addictive PacMan style popularity contest.
How does it work? If someone "adds reputation" by clicking on your post, you collect points that lead to the accumulation of a row of tiny green squares. And these happy squares are smartly reminiscent of the feel-good scattergram squares that Naviance uses to symbolize college acceptances. Doesn't hurt that they're also ivy colored.
I must confess that I have joined the race to acquire greenies and have given up my day job, my Words with Friends obsession, hassling GC about summer internships...and even feeding my kids, who are only home for a few more days.
How proud I am of my eleven (out of a possible twelve) verdant squares, some emerald, some jade. Along with the squares comes a powerful validation - Mine at the moment is "much to be proud of." Others are "a glorious beam of light," "a name known to all," and the ultimate: "a reputation beyond repute."
I have achieved this recognition by posting helpful advice - how to get an internship in the film business, the name of a reliable cab company in the college town I know so well. (I have also defended the field of English to those who want to force their kids to be neurosurgeons...material for a future post.)
But the majority of green rep I received was a result of just falling in with the right crowd. These influential souls - some the true matriarchs and patriarchs of CC - are concentrating less on random ED decisions and focusing on something they can control - powering each other with points. With each infusion there's a private comment, and also public posts like, "CantConcentrate, I just pushed you up to 3 greenies! Happy New Year!"
If you love the same person twice in a short time period, you get a message that says "You must spread some reputation points around before giving to confettijym any more." If that happens, it is customary to let the would-be recipient know about your intent and the reason for the delay: "Just tried to hit you, psychedmom, but got shot down. Will set the alarm for 3:00 am and try again then!"
One poster, Curmudgeon, theorized that this system was created by someone "young, bold...and on crack." But I think CC is on to a bigtime metaphorical life lesson. How do the movers and shakers of the world aquire and maintain their reputations? It's all who you know, baby, and who you can help in return. Just find the right buddies, on and offline, and in no time you too can have a reputation beyond repute. Who knows, maybe even the colleges will abandon their dartboard approach and adopt a greener system of admissions.
In response to many reader queries, The Neurotic Parent Institute is proud to share Early Action and Early Decision results for students and parents who took advantage of our free consultations:
Yale - SCEA
Brown - ED
Duke - ED
WashU - ED
Wharton - ED
Michigan (2) - EA
Northwestern - ED
These kids were qualified: The first female president of her school. An intern with SCOTUS. A remarkably talented musical theater kid. The head prefect of his school, plus a baseball star. An autism reasearcher. And a future BME major who worked in a lab where they're actually curing cancer.
The Institute accepted no payment for its services, but there were many lunches, texts and late-night emails.
The focus of these meetings?
- Love thy safety (makes you more confindent for the apps that count)
- No retakes for scores above 2250
- _________(this one's a secret in case we decide to charge next year).
The secret to success? Might have to do with the Neurotic Parent's trip to India and returning with many lucky artifacts that worked brilliantly for good college karma. Or it could be that admissions to these top schools are still a total crapshoot.
Remember two days ago when our biggest concern was who got in early where?
Hug your kids.
Is it cool to call or text another parent to find out results? Now that I have two kids in college and am not going through the hysteria myself, will I be perceived as nosy if I send sweet and supportive FB messages to find out what happened?
Waiting for decisions from Wash U, Duke, Michigan, Wharton, Brown - you guys know who you are! I've been there for you...Please don't forget to let me know so I can find you a great waitlist specialist should the unthinkable happens.
Here is a powerful, non-denominational prayer to be recited while opening emails, logging on to online portals, or dealing with with snail mail announcing Early Decision news. It will also be effective for Early Action (EA) and Single Choice Early Action (SCEA) decisions.
If you applied to Columbia or Dartmouth, I apologize that this was not posted in time. But chances are you're also waiting to hear from the University of Chicago, and it is not too late to utilize it for that fine school.
The prayer was designed for laptop, desktop and mobile device users, but also works for Wesleyan and GW's old-fashioned snail mail. It may be recited aloud at home or silently in the subway, on the squash court, or while working with orphans in Ethiopia:
As I confront the most lifechanging email/online portal/envelope I will ever encounter, I beseech the Almighty Early One to look over me and protect me from posting something braggy, smug or nasty on Facebook. If accepted, grant me the strength to immediately compose a gushing thank you note and to send it along with a Neiman Marcus gift certificate to my History teacher, who exaggerated my brilliance in her recommendation and made me sound like a freaking genius for winning a debate about GMOs. If waitlisted, give me the focus to complete the 26 other apps with supplements I haven't yet downloaded. And, O Early One, if denied, consider giving me a White Lie Waiver, allowing me to tell people that "I decided at the last minute to only apply Regular, and besides, I really want to take a gap year anyway so I may continue my groundbreaking research with sea turtles."
1. Best place to recover from a cold.
2. CJ has the answer for relatives who ask "What are you doing when you graduate?"
3. All, yes 100%, of GC's friends are thrilled with their college choices, though many say "It's hard."
4. Big guys can help their dad legally dispose of oil used for frying turkey.
5. Happy dog.
6. Chance to perfect my laundry skills.
7. A full season of Modern Family together, cuddling on the sofa.
1. Dad catches the cold.
2. Midnight snacks of stuffing while waiting for them to return home from numerous parties.
3. GC and Mr. NP were somehow sharing a cloud; in a remedy attempt, GC lost 50% of his contacts.
4. NPR in car now set to hip-hop.
5. Tailgating exists here as well.
6. The mess - beyond belief!
7. Five nights fly by....can I go back with them?
College admissions officers are very busy people. The reason? In addition to reviewing applications, meeting with prospective students and parents, reading essays, ensuring that their college have diverse student bodies and singing in admissions videos, they are also snooping on your Facebook page.
Many teens think it's enough to change their names so they cannot be found, like Emmanem for Emma Newsom or Gott Scoldman for Scott Goldman. The winning name this season is CleverNamePun. But colleges have a knack for tracking down students' pseudonyms.
With this in mind, the Neurotic Parent Institute is proud to offer a new service to help your child look like a desirable candidate:
Liked: (BEFORE THE NP FACELIFT)
Colorado's ballot measures
Why yes, I am a Pokemon Master
I hate Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and half of Fridays
The Malibu Goth Naked Party
Liked (AFTER THE NP FACELIFT):
- Fans of Shostakovitz
- The Correct Usage of Your and You're
- Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms
- Habitat for Humanity Weekend Build
So make Facebook work for your child! After all, it is the majority of high school students' most time-consuming extracurricular.
Turns out the cutting edge test prep specialist who wanted me to promote him on this blog was fibbing about the tango lessons. That student actually got into Cornell, not Harvard (not that there's anything shabby about Cornell). Mr. Tango's publicist also had claimed that his efforts had resulted in an eighth grader's guaranteed admission into medical school. When I asked Mr. T. about that, he said he had no idea why his website gave that info, and in fact, the early med school acceptee had been a high school senior.
Then he went on a rant about certain parents, as well as the administration and faculty of one of the Ivies. Finally, he said, he intended to raise his rates for his wealthier students and start a Robin Hood model of test prep (teaching wrong info to the wealthy kids so the needy can snag their places? Hmm...there's an essay topic.)
So, that leaves nothing to blog about besides Parents' Weekend, a time when parents drop everything, fly across the country, have dinner with their kids, send out their linens to a fluff 'n fold, then go for a run because the students have too many lab reports to complete before the next dinner, when they will be seated with six friends at the other end of the table.
One dad in jogging clothes in the elevator said that his younger son (at another school) had blown him off completely. "I hope you didn't buy your Parents' Weekend plane tickets," he said, "because I'm going kayaking."
I know you're all waiting for updates about how GC's friends are faring. I'm happy to report that despite one case of mono, a mild concussion, a citation for public urination and a complaint that "nobody on campus knows anything about indie music," they are all moderately satisfied to thrilled with their college choices.
There are reports about classes being "too hard." We heard about one freshman who became furious when he got his first "B" on an essay ever - not a grade used often in high school these days. But for the most part, everyone has settled in, joined a capella groups, attended football games and stayed up all night playing Settlers of Catan.
One girl has even become enratured with 19th Century Literature, comparing her professor to the one in the Dead Poets Society. "He even jumps on tables," she said. And a gap year kid we know is making great progress in Hindi.
Parents who are snooping on their kids' facebook pages have mentioned that it looks as if their college students have had access to a "dress-up box," the kind you'd find in nursery school. Even at the artsier schools one can see smiling freshmen in wild sunglasses, crazy tie-die, loin cloths, unitards, Native American garb, luau wear and Gangnam style parody outfits.
So with new college life under control, it is time to worry about the current class of high school seniors who are freaking out big time as they decide whether or not to apply early, and whether to mention their internships in London at Mulberry in their essays.
One family, not too happy with their education consultant, is suing him because the $2.2 million they spent did not get him into Harvard.
What can get you in? Tango lessons, according to another Cambridge consultant, who contacted me through the PR firm he hired. And even if you take those lessons in Buenos Aires, as he advises his clients, they'll cost a lot less than $2.2 mil.
Next: "Tango Lessons Can Get Your Student into Harvard" - Part II
We're on our epic Indian monsoon journey, starting off our new lives with a slow oil drip Shirodhara ayurvedic treatment - a stream of medicated oil poured over the forehead for 40 minutes, to release tension and stress and take you to a different level of mental peace.
Not sure where blogging fits in with mental peace.
Lots of drop off stories will eventually show up here, but first a report from a reader about a mid-summer college road trip:
- Our trip was good overall. It was certainly informative, but what I already knew was confirmed: K really can't take being with a parent for more than two nights.
Submit your tour horror stories - Win chai with the neurotic parent, plus a free pen if your report includes at least two Harry Potter references.
Survived freshman move-in.
Parenthood as we knew it is officially over: Time to grow old.
But, empty nesters be forewarned: laundry duties never end. As we wait for CJ, our senior, to arrive from his internship, we're helping his roommates set up their new house. And surprise, surprise...CJ's belongings were not washed before going into storage, or probably not for several months before that.
So it's off to an industrial strength fluff ''n fold, and then on a search for a decent dresser in a Town Without an Ikea.
Here are two great bets for 2012, especially if you can figure out a way to pad your SAT score:
Emory, funded by the super-ethical Coca Cola company responsible for rotting teeth all over the planet, has announced that it has been lying about its enrolled students' SAT scores for the last 12 years. Reported the scores of admitted students instead, the ones who turned them down.
One poster on College Confidential says, "I'll never buy Emory boards again."
And then there's Claremont-McKenna, which only lied for seven years.
Last-minute crises that have put a damper on our last day of pre-college parenthood:
- GC's GF couldn't find her car keys. The whole household got involved (including the 30 kids who stopped over to say farewell. Retracing stops, we suspected they were in the pocket GC's new sweatshorts, which were packed in one of six bags. Miraculously, they keys were located. But what other important item could be stashed away somewhere in another pocket?
- GC discovered an urgent email from his college letting him know that he cannot check into his dorm because his immunization records had arrived, but were not signed properly. Not an easy errand on a Friday afternoon, just as the doctor's office was closing.
- GC contracted a sore throat, then had a adverse reaction to an antibiotic that Mr. NP (a musician, not a physician) decided to give him so I wouldn't find out that he was getting sick. After finally reaching the doctor, the pharmacist said the replacement antibiotic could cause hives or shortness of breath.
- Despite all the kind things I have said about Southwest Airlines, they won't upgrade our boarding position, so there is a chance we will have to sit in middle seats tomorrow on our epic journey. (I apparently forgot to sign up for early bird check in.)
- Am I a terrible mom if I don't pre-wash the sheets? They seem so soft and sateeny in their posh plastic holder. Can they really be full of toxic chemicals?
3.5 more days. Can't think of anything funny to say.
I posted this on the Huffington Post last week. Readers pointed out some must-brings that I left out. See the bottom of the list.
1. A decent mattress.
Forget the memory foam topper, feather bed and bed bug protector. Face it, no matter how many bedding enhancers you invest in, that saggy, smelly dorm cot will just never be comfortable. Instead, just spring for a brand new mattress, which will cost $89 compared to the $400+ needed to alter the yucky one in the dorm. But remember to get Twin XL. Even though kids manage to fit into normal-sized beds at home, the colleges have conspired with BB & B to scare you about the dire consequences of too-short sheets and force you to purchase all new bedding.
2. A pitch pipe
A capella competition is so fierce these days that your son or daughter will want to practice on the way to class.
3. Unlimited text plan
If your child has been sending 10,000 a day, he or she will now send 20,000. If you have a girl, you will be the lucky recipient. If you have a boy, look forward to one-word responses to your cheery questions, such as Yaaa.
4. Parking Permit
Much cheaper than a car. Can be bartered for free rides from all the students who have brought vehicles to campus but have nowhere to park.
5. Settlers of Catan
College students spend so much time playing this board game (a Germanic combination of Monopoly and Risk, but with sheep) that you will wish they would go back to playing video games.
6. "Find my iPhone" App
The most essential possession of them all. Just be sure that your kids know not to harrass the residents if the phone is located in a crack house.
7. Hot Pink Hair Dye
College students like to show their individuality, by going for the ombre-all-over/look... like everybody else.
8. Fake ID
Although highly fraudulent, it's at the top of most students' checklist, even above the shower caddy.
9. This phone number
To deal with the consequences of #8, the phone number of a local attorney.
10. A subscription to the Wall Street Journal
So students can keep track of all their high school friends who have dropped out of college after receiving seed money from angel investors.
Additions from HuffPo readers:
1. A dress up box - "Have two sons in college and
they always seem to be going to themed parties, so the
equivalent of the dress up box from nursery school would have
been a good thing to take."
How could I have forgotten this? One of CJ's first purchases was a Sponge Bob costume.
2. Rackraisers (for the daring) - "They appear to be out of stock everyplace I googled, but they raise the beds up to 25" off the ground"
3. A fan's son- "Mosquito repellent if your child is heading east (it was a warm winter there). And as part of my new campaign to make the kid pay for more of his own stuff, I'm renting him out (only on weekends) to sleep in your son or daughter's room -- he's a bit messy, but I can guarantee that his mosquito magnetism is so severe, that the annoying pests will never bite your child because they'll be so happy biting mine."
4. Insurance - "My son dropped his new MacPro off his loft bed in December, as he was packing to come home for break."
Hmm...Maybe the Rackraiser comes with insurance.
GC has registered for classes. After successfully getting into his 15th, 38th, 65th and 78th choices (because he was in the third registration window for first year students), it is now time to go to Bed, Bath & Beyond to spend a small fortune on items he will destroy, lose or not use at all.
The nice folks at BB&B have provided a handy checklist. My favorite section is the new Bed Bug Protection category, which you think college residence halls would have under control for the $55k we're spending. Luckily, I have a kid who believes that less is more - he only wants a Tempurpedic memory foam mattress topper (which costs more than a decent single bed), and in exchange, will do without the shower caddy, dry erase board and clip rings.
There is some logic behind his edited shopping list: He ended up with no classes on Wednesdays or Fridays. And his first class on Mondays is at 4:40pm. So indeed he will be spending a lot of time on that Temporpedic.
A particle-scattering hand vaccuum? No way. I've heard that discriminating college kids are obsessed with Dyson vaccuums. So, our shopping adventure is nice and minimal - the Tempurpedic and maybe one set of XL sheets (Yes, we received the warning that many a college student's life has been ruined by getting the wrong size sheet. Tall kids have been sleeping on regular beds at home for years without incident, but suddenly for college someone in the linen industry decided they needed five extra inches.) We've offered to buy two sets, but GC says he will absolutely not change them). And he insists on bringing the ratty towels he brought to camp, the ones we told him to leave there each summer.
A highly edited shopping list - pricey enough to wish BB&B had a layaway policy, while practical enough to keep his room tidy and free of allergens.
As four of GC's classmates tour #Vietnam (trending) on their graduation trips, I spent the heat wave gathering blogworthy anecdotes from parents in CT, NY, NJ, MD and DC:
1) GESUNDHEIT - A rising senior Fulbright hopeful from Yale has already taken his GREs. He did very well, of course, but was not allowed to enter the testing center with his travel-sized packet of Tempo Taschentuecher, the more absorbant German version of Kleenex, which he had purchased during his lab research fellowship in Nuremberg. Although the package looks innocent and minimal enough, the proctors probably assumed that the small print was some sort of code for a mathematical formula.
2) MARSHALL-THEMED REFUGEE DINNER - Attended a foodie BBQ at a fabulous home in Bethesda MD with a fascinating group of DC suburbanites who needed to cook all their frozen briskets because of a prolonged power outage. Among the guests were the parents of a University of Chicago student who has just won the prestigious Marshall Scholarship. AND the parents of a Dartmouth student who leaves in September for a semester in the Marshall Islands.
3) NEST WISHES - As I blog, I sit on a brand new next generation 737-800 , headed from BWI to LAS (Not the most direct route home I know, but the best available on changeable Southwest). My seatmate, who lives in Austin, just confessed to me that his wife couldn't handle living several hours away from their daughter, so the couple has purchased a second home in Virginia, where their child is working on her MBA. A lovely new tradition: A new take on the boomerang syndrome of kids moving home after college - who says parents can't boomerang too?