Tag Archives: college admissions pressure

“My Daughter Does Not Wear A College Sweatshirt”

On May 1 — “Decision Day” — many Staples High seniors wore college sweatshirts to school. Brown, UConn, Michigan, Elon, Middlebury, NYU … everyone, it seemed, wanted to share with everyone else the place where they’ll (hopefully) spend the next 4 years.

Well, almost everyone.

A mother writes:

My daughter isn’t wearing a sweatshirt for a university — because she isn’t going to one.

Her decision day happened a year or so ago. Through a lot of tears, she told me she wasn’t ready to go to college. And she knew that in a year she wasn’t going to be ready either.

Since then I’ve talked to friends, relatives and strangers. I’ve had to let them know that my daughter wasn’t headed toward a stripper pole, just because she wasn’t going directly to college. 

My daughter has no idea what she wants to do. She’s 18. She has no children to feed, or debt to humanity to repay before her clock runs out.

The rush to the finish line is not one I’ve put before her. I don’t know if one even exists.

As she watches her friends and classmates go off into their lives at schools across the country, she remains resolute in her decision that her time will come.

But it’s not now. I sometimes see a little sadness in her eyes. But since forever, she has known herself.

Friends sent me texts. They acted as if I were someone who didn’t know the options, and that it was my decision to keep her out of college. They threw out lifelines to try to save us, not realizing there’s a level of depth and thought behind my daughter’s decision.

At 16 she saw the tension and stress of her classmates. She saw the harried decisions to find a path that didn’t fit with her.

So she talked to me, and told me her truth.

We don’t know what’s to come. She wants to work, learn something more about the world, and figure out who she is right now. Her path may not end in a degree in 4 years. But it will be one of value and worth.

To all of our children — those who are going to college, to trade school, into the military, working, or staying home — please know that you are valued and strong.

Your worth is not your accomplishments in these short years you’ve been here.

There is much more to come.