Just Close Your Eyes and Jump

Blog – August 16, 2020

I’ve been taking a little hiatus from podcasting and podcast editing as my oldest daughter recently came home from Montana for a week and my middle daughter started college in Montana shortly after, so I thought I’d try starting a blog while I’m spending time in the car.

My first blog comes to you from the highway as we drive through North Dakota on our way to deliver our daughter to her first year of college at Montana State University in beautiful Bozeman, Montana. This is not my first child to drop off at college, and in a normal year I’d be filled with a myriad of emotions – excitement, joy, sadness – as starting college is a huge milestone both for the child and the parents. It marks a change in life and your family is never the same. It brings nostalgia for a time my family was all together and a pain in knowing we’ll never be together with all of us under the same roof, in the same way again and it’s hard.

This year brings other emotions – fear, anxiety, uncertainty – we, including our daughter mostly our daughter for that matter, debated whether she should start college or defer for the year, move to Bozeman to work for the year and get residency to make tuition less expensive as a way to try to bring more certainty to a world and life that feels uncertain. Typically, as a parent, I have some life experience and can provide guidance to help her in her decisions. However, none of us have experienced anything like what we are experiencing now…there is no life experience I can provide to help guide her. We are all in a world filled with uncertainty and constant change. It’s hard. Leaving for college is a stressful experience. So many changes – leaving family and friends; leaving your family home and moving to a new city, a new state, a new community. All unknown. It’s a lot for an 18-year-old to handle. Add to that an unknown if college will stay in person or if they’ll get sent home. Restrictions in dorm life. Restrictions in dining halls. Wearing masks everywhere except for dorm rooms and showers. Questions about how they will make friends. How will they meet people? Many of their social events are cancelled or restricted. It’s a lot to handle.

My daughter is now successfully dropped off at her dorm and we are back on the road in North Dakota to return home. My daughter met her roommate and they seem to get a long great. We hiked, white water kayaked, shopped for the things we apparently didn’t bring with us – really who’d have thought based on our loaded to the brim vehicle that there was something we didn’t have?? We got also got to spend some more time with our oldest daughter who also lives in Bozeman. We made a mini vacation out of this year’s school drop off.

In hindsight, I’d recommend doing a faster drop off than we did. We dropped her off, moved her in and spent the next three days in town. It was like slowly tearing off a band aid – we prolonged the pain. It probably would have been better to have ripped the band aid off quickly. Dropped her off and headed home.

Move in day was very well organized with two hour windows throughout the week that did minimize contact with others. People wore masks all over campus, but for the most part it was really just great to see school starting and seeing a college campus come back to life.

None of us know what the upcoming school year will bring. Will they be able to stay in the dorms all semester? No one knows. 

Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and jump.

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