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Monday, January 23, 2012

So what's the plan?

I've started this post in my head far too many times, and one thing keeps coming back to me again...
and again...
and again...
I am so so proud.  It's a twitter patted kind of proud.  The big kind of proud.  The proud you dream about the very first time hold your child in your arms and dream all the little dreams of what will come and what they be like.  I'm THAT kind of proud.
You see, my girl chose something that goes contrary to the norm.  Contrary to everything that people, our community says to do and says is right, because she believes the opposite is right... and good... and best... for her.  She talked to people, she gathered information, she weighed her options.   Then she thought about it long and hard.   She thought about who she is, and what she wants to become and where she wants to go... and then she decided.  And it's so not what is "approved of" in our little neck of the woods.

And for this, I'm proud to tears.  Proud she is our daughter.
Our Sunny has chosen to stay at home next year and start her post-high-school education at a community college.  {insert gasp here}  Yep, that's right, she could go most anywhere and she chose the local community college.  And we're so flippin' proud that no university, Stanford and Harvard or any ivy league acceptance letter, no honor's program, no test score, or award certificate couldn't top it!  And I really mean it!
The chromed bumper-Hummer and Escalade driving community we live in, expects its young people to not only reach for secondary education, but to reach as far as they can and for as much as they (their parents) can afford.  It's drilled into them to be better and go higher.  And I'm ashamed to admit, that I did my fair share of drilling.  Don't get me wrong, I want my kiddos to Always. Do. Their. Best.  But it's that definition of what's "best" that has changed in my mind.  It doesn't involve that honor roll anymore.  Or state champion anything.  There's nothing wrong with wanting the best for our children, but over the years I've come to a realization that there are things that are FAR more important.  Like character.  And helping others. And having a heart for God.  And knowing when to step out of the boxes prescribed to us by our society and do what's right and best for us and the world we live in.
It's the time of year when every high-school senior is asked, Where are you going to school next year? and So, what's your plan?  And for one of the most confident children {now turn 18-year-old adult} that I've ever known, she's having difficulty looking folks in the eye and telling them her well-thought-out plan. She's feeling the sting of judgement about her decision.   And I just want to say for the record how absolutely thrilled we are with her plan and the young woman she is.  How proud we are with how strong and fiercely independent she is.  It may not be what everyone else is doing, and what others may have planned, but it's her plan and it's a pretty good one too!  A good plan, the best plan, doesn't require that you're better anyone else.  It doesn't require that you spend a lot of money and it doesn't require that you impress anyone.
I heard a friend say, she thought a community college probably is just as good as a university.  I'll go one better than that.  I think it's a better education.
I overheard Sunny having an conversation with someone about it.  She explained that she has always done better with smaller class sizes, (haven't we parents of grade schoolers been fighting for this forever?  Why would it change now?) and she just didn't think it was necessary to spend so much money on foundation classes like Eng 101/102 and Alg I.  I'm not fond of the new policy that most universities now have of making all incoming freshman declare a major.  She explained that she will easily be able to transfer to the U of A in a year or two and that would give her time to consider what major she'd like to declare before committing.  Community college instructors have less demands on them for research and grant-writing and thus are usually more committed to their students and their learning.
I'm telling you, I could not be more proud of my daughter.  It's not easy to go against the flow and against expectations.  She is simply amazing... amazing to watch the young woman, that we may have had even a tiny part of who she is becoming, grow up into a woman.  A woman I really like.  And admire.  And want to be more like.
And not that it's here or there... but my baby is staying home!  She's not going to leave me and our nest just yet.  I get to have her company at least for another year.   Allowing me to live in my Mama-bliss bubble a little while longer.  exhale.
ps-She also says she wants some time to get get to know her new baby sister before she leaves.
And then it got just a little bit better.

30 comments:

  1. It sounds like your girl has a good head on her shoulders. :-)

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  2. That's a GREAT plan! With the crazy cost of 4 year college now, it only makes sense to get the core classes out of the way at a less expensive option. Plus being home to get to know baby sister is a very worthy decision.

    I'm assuming no TA? Soon.

    How are you surviving? We've only had referral for 4 days and I. am. going. nuts.

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  3. Great decision! By the way, we are still hoping for the 17th for travel. Maybe TA today????

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  4. She is stunning! And so wise. Why in the world spend all that money on general ed. classes??? Proud mama, indeed. :)

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  5. Good for her! And for you :). Her plan sounds fabulous! And I can't believe colleges are making freshmen declare a major. I switched my major up until the last semester of my junior year. That's the point...you take different classes and find the fit for you, the one that calls to you. Like I said, good for her!

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  6. AMEN!!! Love to see young ones stand up for what they believe. My daughter in law and I were talking last night about how much pressure is on them at such a young age( she is 22and out of college) to decide what they "want to be when they grow up". I could not agree more. I am so proud of your Sunny!! This will give her the time to live her life just a little slower and really know what she wants to do instead of rushing that decision. My son came back home from college his freshman year to go to school in town so he could get to know his new little sister. It was such a proud moment for me as well:)

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  7. Great news! you get Sunny for another year or two! Such a smart one there, on so many levels!

    (we got our TA today- traveling on the 8th or 15th - won't know until the 30th, when offices open up.) praying you hear soon!

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  8. Good for her!! And lol, you are happy with her decision. ;)

    I tried to put myself in your shoes - my daughters are still babies - and I would be thrilled about it too. Our children remain our children even when they will be 40 years old! <3

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  9. What a BEAUTIFUL young woman! I am proud of her and don't even know her. Proud mama indeed, well done:)

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  10. Kudos Sunny! Our 18 yo dd also decided to live at home this first year of college (and now she is extending it to 2 years :-) she was Valedictorian of her class and could have gone almost anywhere--sometimes being home with the family (and new little sisters--which was also part of our dd reasons :-) is the best idea of all. Sunny you are beautiful inside and out!

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  11. Big congratulations to both of you! It's so easy to get caught up in the expectations that are pressed on us as though they were norms. So many kids go off to college because they're supposed to, without every truly reflecting on it, and then what they get out of it is limited. I hope she holds her head high and looks people in the eye when she says she's making the choice that is right for her at this time.

    And someday, her baby sister is going to dearly appreciate that she mattered so much that her big sister made room in a quickly growing life for her.

    I hope my girls grow up to have as much character and self assurance.

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  12. I wound up taking a year off after 2 years at the Big State University just to reassess & redirect... I would've saved my folks a bundle and myself some real head/heart/backaches if I'd done half as much research & planning as Sunny has done.

    She's smart, she's a beauty, she's got an independent mind, and she's caring -- oh, to be about 30 years younger! :-)

    Your pride is well-placed and well-deserved. You may have the next great world leader at your breakfast table -- and her little sister will grow up all the better for it as well.

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  13. She's gorgeous both inside and out. And she's right. A community college is a great place to start. College is hard enough without the added pressure of having to know what you want to be when you grow up (do anyone of us ever know that??). I wish I'd had her insight at that age!

    Good for her for doing what she believes in and going for what she wants instead of just following the crowd. I have a feeling she could be destined for great things in life with a belief like that. (and wanting to stay to get to know her new baby sister? Totally melt your heart!)

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  14. Great news for the family it seems. I've heard of parents bribing their children with a new car if they stay home and go to community college, but this if the first time I've heard of getting a new baby sister! How could she resist that? :) I made the same decision many moons ago, avoiding my guidance counselor for a year because he'd keep hounding me about my applications everywhere away from home. I was barely 17 and had no clue about what I wanted to do and was scared to death, mainly about wasting a lot of my parents money. You are so right to trust Sunny. Sounds like she knows exactly what she wants and how to get it. Smart, sensible, resourceful, and gorgeous? You got yourself the whole package in your firstborn!

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  15. Yeah mamma! Very brave and wise choices being made. A girl after God's own heart is way more important! My oldest made the same decision 4 years ago and learned not to cringe when others asked her what she was doing after high school. Turned out the be the wisest decision she ever made. And aren't they so much fun at this age?

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  16. Way to go, Sunny! Smart, smart girl--and I bet one thankful mama?! ;)

    Candace

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  17. Again we share something in common. My oldest is going to stay home next year and go to a community college. A. because it is cheaper and B. because he wants to be around his new sister. Makes my heart happy that after waiting all these years I will have all of my children under one roof for a little while. :)

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  18. Way to go Sunny! You are so wise to seek God and ask what He wants you to do! How wonderful that you will have time to get to know your baby sister better! I went to a small Bible college near home after high school for a year and it was the best decision!

    All the best Sunny!

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  19. I absolutely love this post! We live in a similar community and junior college is kinda frowned upon...which is so sad to me! My son will be facing this decision next year. I thank you for this post!

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  20. Eeeeeekkkkkkkkkkkk!!!!!!! I led my breath for half of this post!!!!!!! What a sweet baby girl your have in Sunny, I love her.

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  21. Beautiful girl and beautiful photography Nancy!

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  22. (sorry for the intrusion - i hired her as a senior because she was sticking around for the first years of college - and i am very happy with that decision. we don't normally hire seniors, because just as we get them used to the store, they leave. she is a good kid, and one of the better hires i've made, if i do say so myself.)

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  23. Cary---
    Every once in a while I'm floored when I discover who reads my psycho-blather. This I count one of those times.
    Thank you, Cary. Thank you for being a part of the village that it takes to raise a child. Thank you.
    nancy

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  24. "A good plan, the best plan, doesn't require that you better anyone else. It doesn't require that you spend a lot of money and it doesn't require that you impress anyone."

    This is excellent advice for young people, but also excellent advice for me. It's so easy to get caught up in the culture of "best," both for my kids and for myself. Thanks!

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  25. How fantastic:
    both your daughter's confidence and your genuine support of her and her decision!

    I just happened upon your blog, via Pinterest, and I was drawn to this post. After going through the flow of college and graduate work, I am now a stay at home mom. I love this season, and I wouldn't trade it for anything... including another paycheck.

    I really didn't have a true idea of my life's calling when I was 18, but I followed the most logical path at the time. Now, at 30, I have a desire to go back to school so that I can become a lactation consultant. That was not even close to being on my radar as an 18-year-old.

    Not only will your daughter benefit from making the best choice for HER, but you will benefit from having her home for another year. What a blessing. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  26. GOOD GIRL. Tell her she's brilliant. Honestly. I would be so proud too. So glad she gets to be around one more year for you.

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  27. That makes me smile. I am so happy for you and your sweet family!

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  28. I'm teary eyed and proud and she's not even my daughter! That's one amazing young woman you have there Nancy!

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