My definition of Almost Empty Nesters: Parents who have a child in high school who are preparing for their exit.
It’s time to set out for college- you watch them fill out the application and then wait… for the email or the envelope to arrive. You go through the motion of preparing for college not allowing yourself to possibly imagine them actually being gone – then all of the sudden … Poof! It is time to go! My biggest hope was that my children would be happy wherever they ended up. Not everyone gets to attend the college that was their first choice. What I always say to parents awaiting the results is “you always seem to end up where you belong”. However, if they still are not happy… transfer! Life is too short to stay where you are not happy- this is my opinion of course!
I had the absolute pleasure of volunteering for Bruin Day at the University of California at Los Angeles, also known as UCLA, where accepted students from around the world, come to confirm or decide that UCLA is where they wish to attend. It was a delightful day. Actually… it was beyond delightful. I am part of a group called the UCLA Parents’ Council, whose children attend UCLA. It is the governing body of the UCLA Parent & Family Association and comprises dedicated parent volunteers who serve as ambassadors for the University.
We volunteered on campus for the entire day, in the sun and wind, answering questions for parents and students. But more importantly, we had the pleasure of observing these families as they experienced an emotional and personal moment. In essence, I was the fly on the wall, silently soaking up the joy these families were experiencing. As they huddled over their Bruin Day packets, took photos in front of Royce Hall, bought UCLA t-shirts and sweatshirts and were laughing, squealing and enjoying this new phase in the life of the student. I loved every morsel of it.
I even had the privilege of helping some of these students decide if this was just the right university for them. They asked about my son’s experiences and how I felt as a parent of a student at UCLA. I graduated from UCLA many moons ago, so I have a particular fondness for the university. On campus there is a special bell that they ring when a new student decides to attend. You could hear the splendid sound of the bell all over campus and it was thrilling! My son’s dear friend Kenny, a new transfer student, rang the bell and now they will be roommates next year. Being a part of their acceptance moment and sharing in the culmination of all of the hard work was an honor.
My empty nester adventure at UCLA this past weekend was so fulfilling and such a privilege. I was completely immersed in the world of Almost Empty Nesters! I would love to hear about your family’s college visits. How did you feel? What did your student think?