How a college visit is not like gazpacho

Simple math:

  • My 17-year-old stepson, a junior this year, is interested in attending college.
  • My sister works in the admissions department at St. John’s University in Central Minnesota.
  • A visit of my Beloved and I coincided nicely with a tour day at the university.
  • A suggestion to my stepson to visit the university was met with agreement. “Yeah, sure.”

Adds up to success, right?

Today, the day of the tour, arrived, and my stepson dragged his feet. “Oh, I’m only a junior.” “Oh, it’ll be boring.” “Oh, I don’t want to attend St. John’s.” “Oh, I’m tired, sore, hungry … .”

“OK,” I wheedled. “It’s a benchmark. You’re not committed just by touring. If you hate it, we’ll leave early.”

We got him to the initial presentation with this approach. The schedule called for touring the College of St. Benedict’s first (the girl’s school — ugh). I thought for sure we wouldn’t make it to that tour. But we did. I kept my mouth shut so I wouldn’t ask some question that would embarrass him. And then, to tour St. John’s required a bus ride. Again, I thought the hurdle would spell failure.

I remember a meal our first summer together. He was 13. I was a new stepmom trying to please and nourish at the same time. I prepared homemade gazpacho. Hey, the kid liked catsup, didn’t he? I was using fresh vegetables. Why wouldn’t he like cold tomato soup?

Well, he didn’t (I’m sure that shocks the veteran moms out there). That meal ranks as the top most awful food he’s even encountered, right up there with his aunt’s glorified rice. Totally disgusting.

I began worrying this afternoon that I was serving a gazpacho-like lesson that might turn him off from college altogether.

“No. Hmm. This is interesting. Let’s get on the bus.”

OK. Good. Whew.

Every building at St. John’s was better than the last in his eyes. I was literally witnessing him falling in love as we walked around campus. The football field cinched it.

“I could go here.” And later, “Thanks for making me go to the tour.”

Wow. Even if he doesn’t ultimately attend St. John’s, our little jaunt through the campus succeeded. My stepson now knows the GPA requirements, the costs, the majors offered and what the dining facilities and weight room look like (these are very important services in a college, don’tcha know).

Not a gazpacho day. A good day.

2 responses to “How a college visit is not like gazpacho

  1. I’d like to hear a commentary from you of the benefits of a private college vs a public college ie: $120,000 in expenses vs. $40,000. With Kari also being a junior we are discussing our tour schedule for next summer – my smartie little girl says “Can I live at home if I go to a junior college the first year to get my basics out of the way – and then transfer, it’s way cheaper dad.”

  2. I remember those college visit days. Unfortunately the one my son loved ended up being too expensive for us. He ended up at one of the state campuses and I believe he got a good education but I would have loved for him to go to the school that offered more specialty classes in his field.

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