I flew to see my oldest daughter at her college on Friday. It was mom’s weekend with her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha. She’s a sophomore, and I haven’t visited her on campus since we moved her into her freshman dorm. She is in a student apartment this year. It was awesome to see how she lives and to meet her friends.
Why do people dress up to fly? I felt totally under-dressed in the airport, but I didn’t really care because comfort on the flight is my first priority. Maybe it’s because I have chronic pain. I wore sweats, brought my “forever comfy” pillow to sit on, and I was still feeling achy on the plane. I took a Southwest flight for the first time and was surprised at how they do things differently. First of all they don’t assign seats on the plane. It’s basically first come first serve, sit anywhere you want. Boarding toward the end of the line, I laughed inside thinking about what an interesting social experiment it was. Most of the aisle and window seats were already taken, so I walked down the aisle mentally sizing up people and deciding which middle seat to take. My primary concern was how the people next to me would smell! I’m allergic to fragrance, so if I picked a seat next to a lady with perfume or a man with cologne, the entire flight would have been torture. Once seated, how could I get up, change my seat, and nicely say I changed my mind? I sat in between a lady and a man. Neither of them were fat (didn’t want to be crowded), and thank god neither of them smelled like anything. The flight attendant started explaining emergency procedures to the people seated in the exit row two rows ahead of me. She told them to read the instructions carefully because in the case of an emergency, she wouldn’t be there to help! I wondered where would she be? It was a 2:30 pm flight, and people were already drinking. the lady next to me got a cranberry vodka, and the flight attendant had a tray full of other cocktails. On the return flight, I got a window seat and took a nap (7:45 flight). We didn’t get any refreshments because there was too much turbulence. Less than an hour later, the flight was over. It was better than driving almost six hours!
On college life:
My husband and I both took non-traditional paths through college, but we both encouraged our kids to have the college experience because it is a phase of life like no other. I attended three different schools, took two years off (to do a NOLS course and live in Telluride, CO), and graduated at the age of twenty-five with a week-old daughter. My husband started college at the age of twenty-four after working as a draftsman since graduating high school. My daughter started right after high school and is on track for a four-year degree and has plans for graduate school (I have my master’s degree and my husband got a law degree, so we have also encouraged her to pursue graduate work). I got my first peek into her life there, and of course I couldn’t help but compare and contrast it to my experiences. During those four years of undergraduate school, young people have life structured for them. They have academic expectations to meet and comfortable living arrangements. They have independence for the first time in their lives. No parents around to make them clean their rooms, eat right, or go to bed at a decent time. They learn how to be self-motivated, and at the same time they have the freedom to explore and experiment with all the fun life has to offer. No demands of the adult working world and families to provide for. It’s all about them, as it should be.
Sororities and fraternities provide social networks and activities. They offer a secondary structure, scheduling events, requiring adequate grades, and a group identity to fit different personalities and backgrounds. While I was never in a sorority, I think it’s a positive experience for my daughter. She loves her sisters, and I was very impressed with her sorority house as well as the rest of Greek circle. In my day, fraternity houses were old and smelled bad, something like the movie Animal House. I never went to a school with a sorority so I didn’t know what to expect, but their house was beautiful! It seemed new and clean and was beautifully decorated with plenty of space. It was fun to see where they meet weekly and meeting many of her sisters and their moms. We had brunch at the house and then had a two-hour painting class where we made paintings of crowns (her sorority symbol).
I love going to Painting with a Twist. We have one near our house, and I’ve been three times already. Everybody makes a different version of the same painting. The instructors walk you through it step by step, so it really doesn’t take talent. I won the ‘who has the weirdest thing in their purse’ contest. I keep a small bottle of olive oil in my purse instead of hand lotion because I have extensive chemical allergies, and it’s the best thing for me to use. Apparently, that’s weird! I’m not complaining though. I was happy to take home a new T-shirt from Painting with a Twist.
After painting, she took me to my first darty. What’s a darty? It’s a day party. Duh. I got to meet more of her friends, two of whom were celebrating birthdays. Then, we had dinner and prepared to go out.
Then, we went out to a place called “Conference.” It’s an 18 and up bar. People who are 18-21 get an X on their hands (and get charged a higher cover charge because they aren’t drinking). Many of her guy-friends were there, and we had a ball getting to know each other. I don’t get out too often, so it was really fun for me. I loved getting to know her friends and dancing in the crowd.
As you can tell, for some reason, I like taking hats off boys and putting them on my head. It was really hot in there, and I was all sweaty, but it was a really fun time. This is my daughter’s ex, and it was nice to see him again. He danced with us and kept all the other guys away from us!
Then it was time for the after-party. That’s right, first a darty, then a pre-party, then the party, then an after-party. We stayed up a long time. I got to hang out with a bunch of her friends in a fraternity and felt like one of the gang, sort of. Besides the fact that I’m twice their age of course.
The next day, there were no scheduled events, so we slept late and then went shopping before I had to get to the airport for my flight back home. We had lunch at Olive Garden. I got her some clothes, some groceries, and hung curtains in her room for her. What a great weekend. Man, I love college.
Do you love or hate college?
Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!