An introvert and an ADD kid went to college orientation…

I’ll skip to the end and say that, yes, he registered for classes. We don’t know what they are, because he was so stressed out by the end of it all that he forgot to print a copy of the final schedule. But he got classes. 13 hours, supposedly, which is what I had hoped for.

But, oh my god, college orientation???? Two full days of non-stop over-stimulation and massive, massive information overload. Introductions, large session, small groups, go here, go there, read this, be sure your child does this, don’t worry, it’s all on the website, time’s up, Q & A, time to eat again, bus tour, pep rally (no, thank you), be back at 7:00 am to meet your kid and get his luggage, then start over.

I like my kids’ university just fine and I’m very happy they are there, but by lunch time on day two I was thinking if one more speaker started his or her talk with a lively “War Eagle, y’all!” and then forced us to respond MORE THAN ONCE until he/she was satisfied with our enthusiasm, someone was getting punched in the face.

I kid, of course.  I love people, and I’m excited about my son’s college experience. But I’m also an introvert, and I can only take so much.  By the end of DAY ONE I was so fried that I skipped the pep rally and slunk off to my older son’s apartment and sat like a zombie watching Say Yes to the Dress because I didn’t have the mental ability to change the channel.

I don’t mean to put down college orientation. It is very necessary and I understand that people work for a full year planning this thing and they do a great job. But there is simply so much (terrifying) information! And they have parents there for two days and it’s probably the last time they will get to impress on us just what we are getting for our money, so I understand the need to cover EVERYTHING. But damn, it was daunting.

Along with the information dump, there is a double message handed out. First it is that we have to let our little angels fly free and stop being the helicopter moms and dads we were in high school, and that the university won’t and can’t tell us our kids’ grades, or anything about their health, and we have to let them make their own mistakes and succeed or fail on their own. But underneath that is the message that somehow it will be our fault if they fail. Numerous speakers told us how important it is to make sure our kids are going to class. Often the same speaker would make fun of hovering parents – in the same speech. I read one time that the definition of stress is feeling very responsible for something that you have little or no control over. Well, exactly.

Is is on me if my son fails in college? No, of course not. And yet, somehow it is. One of the speakers in the Academic Support seminar talked about how unprepared most students are for the rigors of college work. She shared with us how students who made straight A’s in high school did so because high school was easy and college is so not. I’m about to throw up at this point because I know how hard my ADD son worked for his B average in high school.

As an aside, I know that no one gives a crap about ADD anymore. It is not the “in” disorder like it was when he was in elementary school and I got the massive guilt trip about how we needed to put him on medication, yada, yada. Accomodations? What are those? Well, friends, we’ve been dealing with this disorder for his whole life, and, popular or not, it is REAL, and it never goes away. He (and we) just learn how to cope with each major life change, and it is HARD. This one is going to be a doozy.

We made it through orientation. I feel the need to decompress for about a day (not happening, because of … life), and I have about a hundred pieces of advice for my son that he doesn’t want to hear and will most certainly ignore. But we made it through. He is a duly oriented, registered university freshman. Step one, part one.

War damn eagle, y’all.

One thought on “An introvert and an ADD kid went to college orientation…

  1. My thoughts exactly. I remember wanting to head back to the hotel room. And as one who was from the wrong side of the tracks (grew up hearing “Roll Tide”….), I found myself yelling “War Eagle” just to keep my stress in check. Hahaha.

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