Gearing Up For Back to School

Hello, everyone! Summer is coming to a close, which means I only have one week left of posting on here. It also means that I move into my dorm next week, and will be starting classes soon after.

Last year, I definitely went overboard on back-to-school clothes and supplies shopping, but that just means I have supplies for this year and don’t have to go out and buy new stuff, so really it was a smart move in the long run, right? Turns out at college you need approximately one pen and one notebook, and that’s only occasionally.

Going back to school has its pros and cons. I mean, I can just walk to any restaurant or store in town, so that’s pretty cool. It’s like a little city, it has everything you could need close by, unlike Bradford, where you have to drive twenty minutes for literally anything. On the downside, I will be living in a dorm, which has communal bathrooms and definitely does not have my huge comfy bed in it, so that sucks. Worst of all, though, I won’t be around the cats. Sugar, Spice, Smudge, and that one that starts with a Z no one remembers. I will miss them all dearly. Another plus, though, is that Miami has therapy dog petting sessions, like, every Monday for an hour, so at least I’ll get the chance to pet some good bois.

Last year, I didn’t join any clubs. I definitely wish I had, and I plan to this semester. Miami has, like, hundreds of clubs, and one I would really like to try out for is one of the singing groups, Just Duet. I wanted to audition last year, but already had plans for when they were holding the auditions, so I didn’t. Also, I’m afraid of rejection, because who isn’t? So, wish me luck! I’m not sure what I’ll sing yet. Oh, and if you would like to hear what they sound like you can check out this video of them that I think is pretty awesome.

So, for the next week, I’ll be busy frantically packing and making a hundred checklists before setting off to Oxford. I’ll also be thinking of what my final few posts should be about.

Do any of you have kids about to go off to their first year of college? Tell me about it in the comments, and as always, have a great day!

38 thoughts on “Gearing Up For Back to School

  1. Our kids aren’t off to college. I’m a little older than your Dad, but our older son, Geordi, is starting second grade. Our younger son, Miles, is in preschool, and will start kindergarten next year.
    I’m very tired a lot of the time, but we have a lot of time to get ready for college.

  2. My daughter started UW Madison, a great college. But she dropped out before completing the first semester. She said the reason was too much partying, drinking and sexually aggressive boys. Which was too bad. She had decided she didn’t need college to be a writer.

  3. Ah, good luck as you embark on your second year, and good luck especially on the audition! Our younger kid sang in the top-ranked vocal ensemble at his university for most of his time there, and had an absolute blast. The music he learned and the friendships he forged have lasted long after his time in college.

    There’s nobody getting ready for college here this year; both of our offspring graduated years ago at this point and are fully into their careers. But I still remember driving the younger one to the western edge of the state for his freshman year, and how the closer we got to the campus, the faster and faster he talked; he was way too cool to actually admit being nervous, but he sure couldn’t hide it.

    I hope the site’s owner will let you stop by for occasional guest spots here; I have enjoyed your perspective, and especially your exuberance and enthusiasm for the things that catch your attention. I wish you all the best, and thank you for your contributions here this summer.

  4. No kids, but I teach at Akron U, so I too will be frantically prepping for school next week. I’ll be updating & posting my syllabi (3 classes) and getting my LRMs set up (Learning Resource Management sites) so I’ll be busy too.

  5. It’s been a few years since my son’s last year of college. I got spoiled because his school was 6 miles away, so he came home a lot. Now he’s in grad school in another state. I helped him move, but it’s weird that his home is 200 miles from here and he doesn’t come home for the summer (not even a visit this year, since he had an internship further away).

    Have you considered doing a semester abroad? My son did, and it was a wonderful experience – he was at a wonderful program for English-speaking math students in Budapest (a major center for mathematics) and absolutely loved it! He became much more independent, learned to navigate a city where he spoke very little of the language (Hungarian is hard!)

    Enjoy going back to your school named like it’s in Florida in a town named for England!

  6. Good luck this year!

    The middle years of college are full of exciting changes. My sophomore year was when I started to grow into who I am as an adult. In my freshman year, I was trying to live out my plans from high school. During my sophomore year, I broke up with my high school girlfriend and changed my major for the first time. Over the next couple of years I went through some more important changes. I made and lost touch with friends and changed my major again. By the end of my (first) senior year I had decided on my current career and met my wife.

  7. How exciting!
    I relate to Chris Sears. When I was giving tours to incoming freshmen, there was a quiet hall corner would I would always stop us, and then remind them that a certain percentage would change their major while they were here, and so be prepared for that: It helps to pay attention to which majors you are spending time with on weekends and so forth.

    When my classmates told our prof I was changing to another major she said, “Where he belongs!” as she had seen me with students from her other classes.

    It was Alain de Boton who said something like, “If you’re not embarrassed by how(who) you were a year ago, then you’re not changing fast enough.” I believe he was thinking of folks who had long since graduated, not students.

    Strange. In Canada our varsity sports obviously “audition” but I don’t think any clubs do. I remember telephoning the choir, and merely being asked if I could read music. (Yes, but I ended up having other commitments) At our student newspaper someone said that a certain Yankee newspaper auditioned, but I’m sure none of ours did. (I was part of Canadian University Press, so I would know, having attended student conferences for the western half of Canada)

  8. After watching that video, I have two comments:
    1) The guy anchoring their bass line is awesome.
    2) Do they have a CD out? I didn’t see a products or shopping link on their website.

  9. My daughter starts her junior year next month. Normally she’d be calm but, she’ll be starting a semester abroad (Scotland) and she might be more nervous-excited right now than she was freshman year. Like you, she didn’t join many clubs freshman year (and I, of course, was worried that she wasn’t settling in) but, sophmore year, boom!, she was joining in, increasing her friend circle and I got to relax. ;)

    Good luck this year. We’ll miss you at Whatever.

  10. I have no kids but my nephew is starting his first real job out of college this week…after having been on the six-year plan at Ohio U. in Athens he’s now working at being a real engineer down in Raleigh-Durham.

  11. As a former college showchoir member (LONG before Glee and Pitch Perfect made it cool…), I wish you luck! We had a lot of fun, and I still know the alto line to the fight song. :)

    We went back to school here (Pinellas County, Florida) on the 13th — both my kids (elementary and high school) and me (I teach college classes). It’s a busy and fun time, although I definitely need to stop buying office supplies now.

    Okay maybe now.

    (I couldn’t resist the dark-colored dry erase markers in burgundy and forest green!)

  12. My daughter is in the same position you are — going back to college for her second year. The first semester / year can be rough. Joining clubs is a great way to find your tribe, and people to hang out with, if not actual friends. The academics are different from high school and it can be an adjustment; second year should be easier since you are a little more familiar with it. You are a smart, capable young woman and it is okay to take a circuitous route from point A to point B. Explore clubs and classes and take some time to enjoy yourself. Partying too much is bad but so is spending all your time studying.

    It is also okay to voice uncertainties and frustrations. I work at a college and am much more compassionate with the freshmen now having listened to my daughter as she found her way through freshman year. My own experience was different and it is easy to forget that things change and not everyone is the same.

    Missing pets is a real loss. You can talk and facetime with parents but pets are more tactile (and really poor conversationalists).

    Best of luck to you this year!

  13. It has been a lot of fun getting your perspective this summer! I hope you will keep at least a finger in here as you make your way through your second year. I don’t have kids, but my nephew is starting his second year of grad school in Oslo. Norway today. He is navigating both a new university system and a new country as his last term was in Iceland.

    Have a great year!

  14. I have nieces and a nephew going back to university soon. In Britain, school means education only up to age 16, or 18, ie, children, it’s never used for university. College can be used for university, but it’s more likely to mean a specific type of school for 16-18 year olds. University is either ‘university’ or ‘uni’. So I always to a double-take when someone of uni age refers to ‘school’!

  15. Best of luck with the auditions. My daughter was a member of Uptown Vocal at Columbia/Barnard and it was one of the highlights of her college experience.

    Like all of your professors, I’m scrambling to get ready for term…

  16. Have fun and good luck with the audition. And, you know, if it doesn’t work out the best thing you can do is ask for some feedback on why – shows them that you’re serious about joining and helps you prepare for next time!

    My stepdaughter is a junior in high school so we are just prepping for the whole college thing.

  17. I’m sure you will have a great year. Why not? Enjoy.

    LMcCJ – where in Scotland? Because Edinburgh is one of my favorite cities ever, and a great place for college. If not, make sure she visits.

  18. As mentioned in the WorldCon thread, we’ll be getting Son moved in at San Jose State tomorrow(!) for his frosh year. Everybody *seems* to be handling it OK so far. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. Fortunately I work about 10 miles from SJSU, so am close by during the day if needed (by either of us :-)). Right now I’m more “excited” for him than “anxious”.

    Good luck to all the students and parents!

  19. My son started at AUS this year. I was very impressed by the efficiency of the dorm move-in process. A LOT of people moved in very quickly.

    He got a bear of a load. Calc, Bio, Chem, Econ, and Writing. I think he’s going to have hi s hands full….

  20. Good luck. Have fun. Meet lots of people. Make new friends. Learn something that will keep you interested for a decade or two.

  21. It’s been great having you here over the summer. I also hope you’ll stop by for a check-in here or there when you’re able. And good luck with the auditions…my honey was in the men’s glee club and had lots of great experiences with it (traveling to other colleges to perform, performing at an amusement park, learning the school fight song in Japanese to perform for visiting dignitaries…)

    No one in this house will be a student this fall, but I just finished teaching an online summer class and get a few weeks off before my fall starts, while he goes back on contract on Monday. Lots of syllabus creation/fiddling and gearing up happening at our place.

    I also know what you mean about missing the pets. Be on the lookout for faculty or staff who need pet sitters or dog walkers, too (see if you have an online campus connections or want ads type of site).

  22. How ’bout if you contribute a post here every week or so? I know I’d welcome it, and I bet a lot of the readers of this blog would too. It needn’t be anything heavy and time-consuming, just something that has your interest. Give it a thought.

  23. Another request for you to drop by here from time to time.

    I hope you get in to Just Duet, they sound great and are clearly having a blast. Singing is fun, but it’s also extremely good for you, lots of enorphin highs, and doing it with other people is a wonderful experience.

  24. Awww, I remember Zeus. :>D

    Thanks for writing on the blog this summer, Athena. I’ve enjoyed your perspective – thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    Good luck to you on the new school year. Hope you have fun and learn some interesting things.

  25. Yes, thanks for your internship this summer! I hope you enjoyed it and learned a bit about how you like writing in public. :)

    I have one son heading off tomorrow for his sophomore year at an out of town college, and one son starting classes Monday locally while living at home.

    It’s such a bittersweet time. I am trying hard to hang back and let them tell me when they need me, but it’s not easy! I am so proud of them both and I know your parents must be that proud of you.

    I hope you do audition for the singing thing. Just remember — they can’t kill you and eat you. So just do it. I know that’s a commercial, but there’s some truth in it.

    I say to you what i’ve said to my own kids — you will find your own path. And like Miles Davis said — Don’t fear mistakes. There are none.

    Thanks again for joining the blog this summer. Best of luck to you. May all your dreams come true.

  26. The only one of my kids still in (grad) school is winding up his PhD. , although my son-in-law is starting grad school. The grandson will be a bit since’ he’s only 17 … months.

    In the meantime, I’m starting Year 4 myself. It keeps me out of my kids’ way.

    As for Year 2, it seems to be when those who don’t come his with clear objectives find them. $HERSELF took a microbiology class and switched out of Romance Languages.$DAUGHTER took a psychology class and now has a PhD in social psychology. (Also a husband with a BA in psych.) So learn cool things and have fun doing it; life (and college) are short enough as it is. Don’t forget to get involved with the faculty, too–classes are the least of it.

    Now to get ahead on studying. Classes start Monday.

  27. Wow Miami U! I graduated from there in the late 80s, from the Western College Program, which is no more. I loved the old buildings on the Western Campus, and living in Peabody Hall was great since it was so old you had hardwood floors in the rooms.
    Do you still have arts series there, where they bring various performers and students get cheap tickets? I remember seeing the Prague symphony orchestra one year, and also various bands like REM and Echo and the Bunnymen. Take advantage of all that – I didn’t as much as in retrospect I wished I had.

  28. Here’s a thing you could do. I work in border collie rescue. I also am a physics professor. I’ve got some students starting a student group associated with the rescue. They plan to do things like fundraising, keeping an eye on shelters for border collies that come in, fostering for adoption, helping to transport dogs to where they need to be, evaluating the dogs in shelters, doing home visits for adopters, etc.

    I applaud your desire to join a singing group. My wife is a chorus teacher after all. But you could also look into the local rescue scene and that would give you some quality time with abandoned animals that really need you because they’re terrified.

    There’s nothing in the world like taking a dog or cat cowering in the back of a cage out into the world and seeing them suddenly blossom.

    That’s when you know you did it right.

  29. Good luck on your new academic year. The first few times I read this blog, I saw a photo of you sitting in the TV cardboard box which delivered the new LCD TV. Time flies.

    I am curious about the laptop computer and other gear that you use for school. Maybe you could write a review.

    With Thanks.

  30. Congratulations on finishing up your internship! I don’t comment much, but read and appreciated your posts.

    As a recent graduate, I might as well share some unsolicited thoughts:

    – You have the right instinct in wanting to join more clubs. If I could do it all again, that’s the main thing I’d change. Good luck with the audition!

    – Doing work outside classes and seeking out mentors turned out to be a very helpful, enjoyable part of college. This summer’s internship certainly counts! If you also want to to be a research/writing assistant to a prof, it’s worthwhile to send out emails to a few whose areas of study interest you. (I was in a scientific field at the time, and YMMV depending on future plans.)

    – Buying extra school supplies is totally normal and will probably happen again this year, because new school supplies are a shiny, awesome sign of new possibilities.

  31. You definitely seem a lot more social and socially adjusted than I was when I first went to college (I was and am an introvert and would have been perfectly happy going to class and going to my room and plugging in to video games forever), but JOIN SOME CLUBS! I made several lifelong friends through joining some clubs my freshman year.

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