Athena Gets Into College

Specifically Miami University, down the road in Oxford, OH (to head off any comments on this score, the Miami in Florida is named after the Miami Valley of Ohio, which is where we live, and Miami University was actually founded before Florida became a state). We’re super-thrilled about this; Miami was one of Athena’s two top choices for college and it has an excellent reputation for undergraduate education — among national universities, in fact, it ranks #2 in the nation for undergraduate teaching (#1: Princeton; #3: Yale; my own University of Chicago isn’t even in top 20, alas). And it’s one of the “public ivies.” So I feel pretty sure she’ll get, you know, a decent education. Krissy is happy it’s not too far away — it’s about an hour down the road — so we have a decent chance of seeing our kid on more than just the occasional holiday. And Athena is happy, because now she knows she’s going to college. In all, a happy day.

One thing different now than in the past: Athena found out her status by checking in online (they posted acceptances at midnight), so she didn’t have to wait for either the happy big package or depressing thin slip in the mail, like I did 30 years ago. I figure this is actually a positive step forward. It seems slightly less stressful in any event.

So: Yay! My kid’s going to college! If you would like to congratulate her in the comments, I would not look askance upon it.

167 Comments on “Athena Gets Into College”

  1. Yay! Lovely campus, I’ve been there many times since I was Athena’s age (younger, actually). Congratulations!

  2. Way to go, Athena! That’s great! I’m very happy for you! Thanks to your dad, so many of us have had the joy of watching you grow up. You’re an amazing person and I hope to hear about the great things you’ll do in school and beyond. :-)

  3. Congratulations, Athena! Both on successfully navigating the college search process and getting into one of your top picks! How very exciting.

  4. Congratulations, Athena! My son is also awaiting college acceptances and it’s very stressful. How nice to KNOW what you’re doing:-)

  5. Congrats Athena! My colleague graduated from Miami University a few years back, and he’s one of the most skilled software engineers that I know. It’s a single data point, but a good one.

  6. Congratulations, Athena, Parental Units, and the Menagerie! One of my brothers went to Miami University years ago. :-) So, it must be good, right!

  7. That is some really great news to receive. Congratulations to Athena, and may she enjoy herself tremendously and find things that set her brain to fizzing.

  8. Congratulations, Athena! That’s a fine school, and a great success in making it!

    And congratulations John & Kristine! That’s a huge parenting milestone, getting you quite close to winning the parent game!

  9. Congrats! Great school, I’ve read. As a senior myself, it’s a big weight off your shoulders to lock in where you’re going.
    Above all, good luck!

  10. A friend of mine went there for college when we were that age, and I always used to joke, “It’s not the Miami you think, and it’s not the Oxford you think.”

  11. Congratulations Athena! I have found life to just keep better better as the years unfold before me: wishing you a similar journey now you’re ready to leave HS behind. Also: parents – well done, and hope you enjoy this new (oh, ugh, I am about to say it, but I”m sorry, it just works) this new season of your lives.

  12. Congrats! No seriously, congratulations. I’m sure I’m a young whipper-snapper compared to a lot of folks, but at 32 I look back on my university days and think “man, those were the best.” So, Athena, enjoy your time at school.

  13. Congratulations Athena – well done parents – scary but fun time for both. Spread your wings and fly joyfully as you leave the nest.

  14. Congratulations, Athena! We just did this last year with my daughter so I know what the sense of relief is like. We also have to drive about an hour to see her. This is the perfect distance. We don’t drop by unannounced. When she says she’d like to come home for the weekend, we get her. If she were ever sick or needed something, we could be there in a reasonable amount of time. This is the beginning of a wonderful adventure. I hope you enjoy it.

  15. Congrats to Athena! My daughter Mackenzie got similar news recently – exciting times, indeed!

  16. Oh, heartiest felicitations to you, Ms. Scalzi!!! I am thrilled to learn that you got into one of your top picks, and happy for the fortunate university that will boast you as a student.

    Not that you need an anonymous old coot on the internet to tell you this, of course, but I hope that you use your college years to explore who you are and try things you maybe haven’t considered before now. The bonds you forge over the next four or five years will last you for a lifetime, and the experiences you have and the memories you build will shape the person you’ll become for many decades.

    There will always be smarter people than you, and people less smart. There will always be wealthier people than you, and people less wealthy. You can’t change or shape either of those things – but you CAN control whether or not you are the person who works the hardest, tries the most, and accepts the biggest challenges.

    Go for it, Ms. Scalzi, and we look forward to seeing you soar into the future!

  17. Wut – the acceptance letters are electronic now?? God, I’m old.

    Well done, Athena! Everyone I know who’s gone to Miami has had great things to say about their experiences there. Enjoy the experience!

  18. Congratulations, young Scalzi.

    As I am sure your parental units have told you ad-nauseum, the purpose of education is to not to teach you facts, but to teach you how to think.

    As such, my unsolicited advice is simply this: take every opportunity to explore things that seem interesting but which have nothing to do with what you think you want to do with your life.

    Even if this does not affect your career trajectory, you will be surprised how often, in your post-college career, the knowledge you gain will turn out to be very helpful. Also, there is a great pleasure in knowing stuff your parent’s don’t, for which English doesn’t have a word but German probably does.

    tl/dr: take weird electives.

  19. Athena, I don’t know you of course; I’m just a big fan of your father’s books. But congratulations of course! I am sure you earned it. And now a funny story about email acceptance. The young man who lives across the street from me applied to a number of colleges; one was a big reach he did not expect. Well, acceptance time came and went, and he happen to check his spam folder and there was an acceptance! But he was sure his friends had done some kind of hacking trip and did not believe it for a day or so. Until he decided to check into it, and it was true!!! I assume yours did not go to your spam folder.

  20. Most exeellent, Athena! The usual unsolicited advice applies, but of course I have some that I haven’t seen elsewhere:
    * Learn cool things; have fun doing it.
    * This is not a repeatable time [1]. Make the most of the unique opportunities offered by becoming an adult in a community of scholars; most of the distractions can wait.
    * Most of all, take joy in becoming Athena.

    [1] Says the grandfather who has returned to University. You really can’t go back again.

  21. Congratulations! Miami is a fantastic collage – my nephew got his masters there and loved it. Everything from the excellent teachers and facilities to the brick streets creates that true “college experience”.

    I note that from the screen shot, it looks like her major is going to be creative writing. I look forward to reading her first New York Times best seller!

  22. Well done! Congratulations! As someone who works for a major Big 10 university in that state above you, I wish you were coming here but our loss is Miami’s gain.

    Now….can you talk to my niece who can’t seem to get her feet under her and make a decision about life at all despite graduating 2 years ago? You seem to have a good head on your shoulders. ;)

  23. Congratulations, Athena! I hope college is every bit the wonderful experience for you that it was for me (fellow liberal arts major — history — here).

  24. Yay! Can’t wait for her first book, Miami of Ohio Vice, where she details all of the kids from Indiana who drink in the local bar.

    (Seriously, great school, nice campus. Just remembering back to the days when half my high school class had spent time there.)

  25. Congrats and best of luck, Athena! A Miami alum welcomes you to the red brick world of Love and Honor.

  26. Congratulations, Athena.
    Your father portrays you as about the smartest and funniest kid on the planet.
    We love the fictional you, and wish the real you all the best.

  27. Congratulations to Athena!

    We are sending a 19-year-old off to college in August ourselves. It’s a wonderful amazing scary time.

    Wishing you all the best.

  28. Mazel tov, Athena!

    You may already know this, and/or may or may not care, but the Miami University Goggin Ice Center is large and well-equipped, and hosts figure skating competitions and clubs.

  29. Congratulations to Athena! I hope her university experience is just wonderful.

    As a resident of lovely Luxembourg, I would encourage her to look into doing a semester at the Miami University campus located here. Luxembourg just can’t be beat for as a place to live, even if you only get to do it for a short time!

  30. Congratulations, Athena! College is going to be one of the most wonderful, terrifying, eye-opening, and trying times in your life. It’s absolutely worthwhile.

    The advice I offer you: remember that it’s as social an experience as it is academic. Find friends with whom you share interests, because they’ll be with you for the rest of your life. Have some meaningful conversations with your professors and your TAs. Do the work, but give yourself permission to skip out every once in a while to enjoy your independent life.

    I wish you the best of luck, even though I know you won’t need it.

  31. Congratulations! I went to William & Mary, which is an odd combination of a public/private Ivy, for my MA. I found that the school really put a value on producing students who were not just well educated, but educated in practical ways that made students valuable to future employers.

  32. Congratulations to the student, but congratulations to the parents as well for the successful launch of an 18-year project. I have two kids at the U of Minn and yeah it’s pretty exciting when they get accepted into their top pick.

  33. Wonderful news for the whole Scalzi clan! Athena, congrats! MoO, watch out; there’s a storm coming! (My wife’s uncle taught there for decades. I lived in BeaverCreek during the Xenia tornado, and attended Muskingum College; so I’m quite familiar with that neck of the woods.)

  34. Good luck! My one suggestion is just to remember that from day one of the semester/quarter you’ll always have less time then you think you do.

  35. Congratulations! Admittedly, all I know of Athena is from the writings and camera lens of an adoring parent, but it never occurred to me to think that her going to college was in doubt.

  36. Congratulations! I think the posters have covered all the bases so I’ll stick with the straightforward: Congratulations!

  37. That first acceptance is always the biggest relief-maker. Being from one of your top choices is all to the better. Congratulations and good luck on the others!

  38. Of course, there’s not actually any such thing as a public Ivy, other than Cornell. A few of its colleges are state schools.

    But more importantly, congratulations!

  39. As if there was any doubt. But congratulations anyway! How nice to have a top-flight public u. so handy!

  40. Congratulations, Athena! (And having driven through it quite a bit, that’s a lovely area as well.)

  41. Congratulations to Athena and the parentals, on the acceptance and making the decision! It’s exciting times!

  42. Congrats from the ‘Miami Mafia’ in my family: wife, daughter, son-in-law (and his brother and father), wife’s sister and brother-in-law.

    Sheesh, all these ‘Miami Mergers’ I listed make this sound incestuous, don’t they? :-)

    My daughter would second the recommendation re Lux, BTW. It stimulated an interest in other cultures as well as love of travel and adventure and launched her off to jobs in China and Singapore.

  43. Congratulations! Enjoy the experiences (parents and Athena)!

    Unsolicited advice – do good work, have fun!


  44. Coming from Oklahoma, where we also have a Miami, I have to ask – do you pronounce yours “My-am-mee” like the heathens down in Florida or “My-am-uh” like God intended? 8-)

    Seriously, congratulations on getting the school she wanted!

  45. Many well wishes Athena. Study hard, have fun & keep your parents in the loop (even a tiny bit goes a long way).

  46. Congrats Athena!!!!!! Be ready to be asked which University of Miami you go to, over and over and over. My sister went to the other one and got asked over and over and over…sometimes even when she was in the state of Florida.

  47. Congratulations to Athena and her proud Mom and Pop!

    Times have changed from when I went to college but I remember it as stepping through the door to a much wider world. Young folks are exposed to so much more. When they are surrounded by (mostly) sane and reasonable family it is easier to stay grounded. Stepping out on your own is a great adventure.

  48. Congratulation to you, Athena. I have been following your dad’s blog and your life experiences vicariously through it. Congrats to your dad and mom as well. Enjoy new experiences and new friends.

  49. Congratulations to Athena; combined congratulations and sympathies to the parents, who will not find college as cheap as it was even three or four years ago.

    I will add my suggestion: Try a few courses you don’t think you would be interested in (on top of the other courses you don’t think you’d be interested in that they will make you take in exchange for a degree). It’s amazing how many cool bits of information I picked up that way.

  50. That’s pretty awesome news. I’m guessing you must be thrilled. Congratulations to the whole family on a team win.

  51. Congratulations! I still remember the thrill of getting into my preferred university, lo these many years ago, and I’m so glad that Athena’s getting that same thrill!

  52. Congratulations Athena!

    As a side note, I have found that having people (In-Laws in my case) An hour or so away to be perfect. Close enough for the occasional visit or emergency, but not so close that it is a daily thing.

  53. Mazel tov and all that! I had a colleague who went to Miami. Being kind of a sad sack and also generally pretentious, he always claimed to have studied “at Oxford.” It did not endear him to those around him. So, don’t do that I guess?

  54. Woo! Congrats Athena! I actually looked at Miami when I was looking at colleges *mumblecough* years ago. It does have a nice campus.

  55. Party on, Athena ;)

    “English – Creative Writing”, eh? Not sure what led to that choice of major.
    At least it’s not in Oxford UK, that place is a dump.

  56. Congrats, Athena! I had a good friend from high school who went to “Miami of Ohio” as we called it–to distinguish from that Miami in Florida. Best of luck to you!

  57. Congratulations! Even though it seems from the posts I’ve seen over the years that Athena is intelligent, funny, and well-rounded (and therefore a good catch for any college), the waiting is tough. By all accounts, this is a great school, so I hope it’s a good fit.

  58. Let me add my congratulations to the family. Things have probably changed since I taught there in a past life (go Economics!), so my recommendations would likely be stale. That said, don’t fall into the “public ivies” mindset – I had to break it to not a few students that the “I attend a public ivy, so I must be smart; therefore, you can’t give me a C” argument does not hold logical water. I don’t expect that this will be an issue with Athena.

  59. Congratulations, Athena. Be sure to look for amazing “beyond the campus gates” opportunities to broaden the experience. Also, congratulations, John and Kris. You appear to have done well in the parenting gig. Now enjoy your semi-empty nest.

  60. Congratulations, Athena! What a thrill to get admitted to your college of choice. All the best to you in your college career.

  61. Congratulations on getting into Miami! There are a lot of opportunities awaiting you, like studying at the Luxembourg campus, service learning at Over-the-Rhine, or taking an intimidatingly challenging sociology class with Dr. Flint. There are public policy research internships for undergrads and even a master’s program at the Cincinnati Zoo. So much to do.

  62. Congratulations, Athena!
    Good luck on the start of an exciting adventure. College helps you learn more about academics, and also more about yourself. Make the most of your opportunity.

  63. Nice. Truly. Great School! I’m a high school history teacher at a school that sends a fair number of students to famous and famously competitive colleges. Your emphasis on the quality of the undergraduate experience is spot on. You will be glad, in so many ways, that you’re paying attention to that variable.

  64. Yay for Athena! Yay for college! And just close enough and far away to be independent…priceless :)

  65. Congratulations to Athena! A quality undergrad education is definitely a bonus in these times!

  66. Congrats Athena! It’s a really great school, but you and all the national rankings already know that, and I’m sure you’ll make the most of it. Let me distill all the advice I can give you from observation and personal experience.

    Don’t forget the exam dates or take a nap right before the exam and sleep through it, but if you do it isn’t the end of the world. Show up to class if that’s what it takes to keep you doing the work even if the lecturer is dull. Watch out for mono (if sleep becomes the best idea ever 24/7 you most likely have mono. Go to the clinic or your doctor STAT.) Enjoy wacky college hi-jinks. Join a club or two or three. Don’t go home every weekend. When you do go home, remember to take your laundry. (If you buy enough socks and underwear you can make most wardrobes last for a month. Just sayin’. Pay laundries get expensive.) Don’t make a habit of coming into the room at 3 am in the morning, turning on the lights and talking drunkenly to your friends while your roommate is trying to sleep. Don’t put up with that either. Sleep deprivation is for fun stuff and all nighters not shitty roommates. There are good roommates out there.

  67. Congratulations, Athena! Have fun, learn lots, try new things, meet new people, change your mind, and enjoy it all. (Well, maybe not the parts that lead to heartbreak, which there may well be, but those will be learning experiences, too.) Good luck and bon voyage!

  68. I went to – and loved – the University of Miami. I hope Athena enjoys Miami University at least as much. Congratulations!

  69. O frabjous day! Congratulations, Athena!

    Although we haven’t met, I’ve enjoyed reading about you over the years on Whatever, and more recently, been much entertained by your Twitter exchanges with your dad. I wish you all the best in this next stage of your education! And I look forward to reading some of your creative writing in the future.

  70. Congratulations to Athena!

    I visited the University of Miami once as an undergraduate for a conference. The campus is one of the prettiest that I’ve seen.

    The article never mentioned that Miami was her first choice, so I’m curious to what other colleges she applied.

    (Also, as a Ball State alum, I have to throw in one “Go Cards!” for the next football season.)

  71. I am going to join those suggesting that Athena look into the Luxembourg program; not doing so when I was there was one of my few real regrets.

    I would add to your Florida disclaimer that Miami University was founded in 1809, while Florida was still part of Spain. The city in Florida was not incorporated until 1896.

  72. Long-time lurker here – just had to come out of the shadows to say a hearty congratulations to Athena! She sounds like she’s extremely well-grounded (awesome parents!), so I just want to say – take advantage of every opportunity, and also have a lot of fun!

  73. Congrats. 1 houjr drive is about perfect. Far enough to get some privacy from the folks; close enough for the bi-weekly laundry run.

  74. Congratulations! I hope it’s the start of a really great new chapter in your life!

  75. Congratulations, Athena! I hope you learn a lot, make wonderful friends, and thoroughly enjoy your time there.

  76. So happy for you and Athena :) Considering how difficult it is (nowadays) to gain something like this…well…huge **hugs** and ‘Congratulations’ :) :) :)

  77. Mazel tov, Athena! E-hugs of congratulations to you and your parents for the great news. I’d hug the Scalzi menagerie too, but they’d probably react badly to body contact from weird humans.

  78. Congrats! And it’s a perfect location for her: close enough for parental support when she needs it and far enough away that you won’t know when she gets drunk. ;-)

  79. Congratulations! Our daughter, Megen is a graduate and my niece is currently at Miami. It is a great school’

  80. Congratulations, Athena! Only thing I know about Miami of Ohio, though, is that it was the school where the Miami Triad of fraternities were founded – Beta Theta Pi (my father’s frat), Phi Delta Theta (one of my uncles’), and Alpha Tau Omega.

  81. Congrats!!

    Went to grad school there in the early 70’s. Jeeze, I’m old.

    Hint: Get some warm winter shoes. You’ll need ’em.

  82. Congrats, Athena! Well done!

    (And I suppose the parentals deserve a round of applause, too.)

  83. Well done and W00T! Remember; you go to college for an education as well as for a degree; enjoy!

  84. Well done! My current advice to all students is to take some business classes during their education. I hope it will advance the awareness of our current ‘you are your own company’ and help you in all your future adventures. Good luck and have a lot of fun!

  85. Congratulations, Athena! I wish I’d known last week so I could have congratulated you in person.

  86. Congratulations Athena! It’s in a great area, and just far enough away your folks won’t always be up in your business.

  87. Well done, Athena. (And well done parents.) One of life’s great adventures awaits you.

  88. John George:

    I will add my suggestion: Try a few courses you don’t think you would be interested in (on top of the other courses you don’t think you’d be interested in that they will make you take in exchange for a degree).

    Seconded. Both my partner and my daughter (twice!) discovered their future majors unexpectedly this way.

  89. Well done, Athena!

    An hour from home – far enough to be on your own, and close enough to bring your laundry on the weekends….

    One small piece of advice: do your homework as soon after class as you can. Trust me – I learned the hard way… But – you have good role models for self discipline…

  90. As with all the others, congratulations!

    FWIW (and it’s more likely this won’t apply to you), when I went to UCSD in 1966 (at which halcyon time it was <1500 largely left-wing students, many living in ex-USMC Quonset huts, and surrounded by deeply infrared and heavily militarized north San Diego County), I'd come from a European boarding school where rigid discipline was forced on me. Result: I hadn't developed any of my own, and thus crashed and burned academically. (Not literally–in fact, I ended up as a professional pilot and have had a career that's been all I could have asked for, and more). Have fun and do all the excellent things suggested by other commenters–but be ready to WORK. Good luck!

  91. Congrats, Athena! I earned a degree in English with a Creative Writing concentration and had a wonderful time doing it, so of course I think your major declaration is impeccable. Enjoy college!

  92. Congratulations, Ms. Scalzi! I had a pretty awful K-12 experience and absolutely loved college.

  93. Congratulations to Athena! Miami University has an excellent reputation. They offer students the elbow room to explore and the space to delve into an area of interest in depth. I think you’ll enjoy it there.

    And I must also offer congratulations to the admissions department of Miami University! I have no doubt you’ll find much to make you glad you chose Ms. Scalzi. (I know you have many, many, many, many excellent applicants to choose from; good call, folks!)

  94. Ooh, exciting! Congratulations Athena! Wishing you many fine adventures, academic and otherwise, in the days to come. Anyone with enough drive and self-discipline to graduate early (belated congrats on that too) should be fine with setting her own limits and spreading her wings at the same time.

    My uncle went to “Miami of Ohio” back in the dark ages of the 20th century…although his was a much longer commute home. An hour sounds good: close enough for comfort, but far away enough to breathe.

    Oh, and congratulations to Athena’s parents too. ;)

  95. Yay, Athena! Don’t date any jerks. It’s OK to do stupid things in college – Everyone does. Sometimes it makes for great stories. Other times, it makes for things that should never be mentioned. The interview before being accepted for a teaching degree is a pain in the ass. The professors are usually dour, so don’t laugh when they say something that makes you want to laugh. Stay away from musicians. (I’m a musician, and we’re awful.) :D

    John – Don’t be too hard on her dates. She’s a smart young lady, she’ll figure it out.

  96. I had occasion to be on that campus for the first time a few months ago on business. A lovely college town.

  97. I remember getting those slim envelopes in the mail years ago and thinking, “I don’t have to open this to know I’ve been rejected”. Hooray for finding out online! I am sure that your daughter will get a terrific education and make lots of amazing friends. Blessings upon all of you.

  98. Congratulations! A lot can happen in 4 short years. A nation can win a world war. You can become a subject matter expert on ___fill in the blank___. You can save a life other than your own. You can have your heart well and truly broken. But best of all, in the tiny gap between stimulus and your reaction, you get the chance to build your character one decision at a time. “Fair winds and following seas to you,” but I bid you become an expert sailor against the nights and the gales that no life is without. Oh, and ahem, unlike even 10 years ago, surveillance cameras are dirt cheap.