With the completion of Kid’s 4-year “college adventure” looming, I assume the title of College Daddy Emeritus. I was present and accounted for thru this notoriously hazardous passage. In truth, I simply tried not to interfere too much.
My greatest contribution was finding Kid a reliable local mechanic for when ….. “Dad, my car is making a funny noise and ‘that light’ won’t go off ….”. “Have you called Mr Riddick at AAA Car Care?” ….. “No, not yet.” …. “Call him.” ….. “OK, thanks Dad”. ….. “You’re welcome. Love you.” ….. “Love you.”
If that qualifies me for the Expert College Dad merit badge, I’ll take it.
A BLSays reader wrote me recently seeking advice regarding his step-daughter heading off to Chapel Hill next Fall. Being of the Conservative persuasion, he is leery of her falling into the evil clutches of Chapel Hill’s notorious goggle-eyed, spittle-spewing, amoral, atheistic, drunken, drugged, ultra-left wing, lesbo lunatic faction.
Why should that concern a step-dad? Why indeed.
Perhaps my advice to him can help others or at least cause a scene at a few family dinner tables.
Dear BL Buddy: I’m glad to oblige your request.
Unless step-kid is already a pointy-teethed amoral lib/loon she will likely have a reasonably non-catastrophic 4-year rite of passage on a beautiful campus populated primarily by like-minded post-pubescents undergoing similar adventures.
She will navigate this gauntlet as many many 1,000s have before her …… challenged both by the academics aspects and
The socio-cultural stew into which she is being plopped…
by the diverse socio-cultural stew in to which she is being plopped.
“Beating State / Duke” will NOT be as important to her as it may be to you. That obsession comes along in the alumni stage of life.
“Politics”, as we might define it, will take a backseat to confronting her freedom to choose which paths to follow in her 4-year experience. Its probably too late for you and her Mom to influence those decisions if you haven’t already done so. Whatever her “interests” be it academics, social opportunities, sports or whatever, she CAN find trouble and/or it can find her. “It” is there as it has been at her high school and local community.
I have had this discussion with UNC’s Popular Young Chancellor. 99% of UNC students are NOT Tyler Hansbrough, Marvin Austin, Eve Carson or Haley “Patti Hearst” Koch. Most students at UNC (or any college) are “just kids trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be”.
Her choice of friends will influence that more than anything. If she makes some bad choices, hopefully they will be correctable. Most “wet paint” and “hot stove” mistakes do heal.
BE ESPECIALLY ADVISED: Her first 2-3 weeks on campus next Fall will be critical. If she lacks self-confidence or has severe concerns about “being liked” she can fall prey to bad influences quickly. You have to give her a long leash in those early days. It can be a difficult ordeal for all involved. Most, but not all, parents and “young adults” manage to survive this orientation experience with only minor bruising.
Neither Roy, Butch nor the most radical faculty nutjobs will have much if any influence whatsoever on her. Her roommates and dorm mates WILL however. The first weekend she comes home, you will try to extract all sorts of “intell” from her. She will reply in disinterested monotones that will really frustrate you. You can try waterboarding but it won’t help.
Don’t forget to arrange for that local mechanic. :>)