There are so many different aspects I need to blog about as it pertains to Abbey’s path to college. I may be able to touch on a few in this post. Abbey has never attended a formal class before, unless you count driver’s education classes at the local high school. As mentioned in a previous post, Abbey decided suddenly last summer that she wanted to pursue college. As mentioned in that post, she was late by a few days in the colleges of her choice receiving her ACT scores, so she officially missed the deadline. She applied to Brigham Young University, Idaho, as her primary choice, and they asked her to reapply because of the missed deadline. We didn’t pursue what that meant because of what happened to her second choice: Brigham Young University, Provo (the main campus). This institution simply qualified her for the next available term or semester, which happened to be Spring Term, and she was accepted! Provo is fairly competitive, so we weren’t sure she would be accepted. Plus, Idaho had a great creative writing program, which is what she thought she would pursue.
(The “Y” on the side of the mountain near BYU, Provo.)
However, because of the immediate acceptance into Provo, we decided to look around their site and see what kind of Creative Writing program they offered. But, we couldn’t find it anywhere. So, we ended up looking at every category of degree until we found a “writing emphasis” degree under a General Studies category. Yuck! But, this process got us thinking. If she were to pursue a creative writing degree, the type of job she would need to pursue would be something with magazines or newspapers and the such. But, she wants to write novels, and there really isn’t a job out there except as an entrepreneur, which is the way Abbey wants to pursue it. Soooo, as we had perused the site, we ran across special education teacher, and it really popped at us. Abbey has been working officially through an agency with her brothers with special needs for the past year, and she’s a natural at it! We got to talking, and some of the benefits I pointed out in pursuing this degree as it pertains to getting an actual job are these: it is not year-round and one gets liberal vacation time (scheduled, though); she wants to homeschool, so a teaching certificate often bypasses certain legalities; she could tutor from home; it is in high demand so if she does it temporarily or needs to move often, she should be able to find employment easily. Those were the things that came off the top of my head.
Abbey wants to be a stay-at-home mom. She wants to homeschool her children. She wants to be an author of novels. All of these things she knows she can do as an autodidactic. Pursuing college has a couple of purposes: she wants to have more of a social life. Having been a homeschooler all her life, she just was different. It was hard for her to find teens that wanted to be associated with different. Abbey was comfortable, but she is really interested in the dating scene. She started off thinking of unschooling her career path into authorship, but finding peers in her position was hard to come by because so many go off to college. Sooo, thus, her decision to put herself where everyone is. Again, she thought of pursuing her unschooled career next to a large university, but she decided against it because of her second reason: the world values degrees, so she felt that it might be useful to have one in case she needed it. In other words, it gave her options if she needed it beyond her career of choice. And, special education appears to be a perfect way to enhance her ultimate goals as a stay-at-home, unschooling mother.
Because Abbey was not able to start university for Winter Semester like she had hoped, she had time between November when she found out, and June (we ended up postponing to Summer Term, which made the most sense) when she would start. I suggested that she take a couple of classes at the local community college in order to have at least one experience with a classroom setting before going into such a competitive schooling environment. So, she chose Expository Writing, since so much of college is writing, and Spanish I, since it had been a while since her self-taught Spanish learning in her unschooled years, and BYU has a requirement to pass a second year language level. So far, Abbey has learned to budget studying time, learn study skill habits, and understand the logistics of a classroom setting and the requirements of an instructor. She is receiving top scores at this time, which she feels good about since she anticipates that BYU will certainly be an increase in difficulty from a community college level.
So, that brings us to our recent trip. It was spring break for community college, and I decided last minute that Abbey and I should take a trip to BYU, which she had not visited yet. Airfare rates were good, so we jumped on it. It was just what she needed to make more informed choices about on-campus housing choices and meal plan options. Abbey also enjoyed just getting to “feel” the student environment as we walked around the campus amongst the hustle and bustle of the student body. We started off with a tour of the campus. We waited in their visitor’s center for our student tour guide:
(Abbey standing in front of an aerial photo of the BYU campus)
Naturally, the student tour guide was a well-spoken young man who drove us around in a zippered protected golf cart (back to a winter state!) and answered any of our questions. Some of the extra-curricular programs Abbey may be seriously considering once she gets out there is intramural sports and working on the BYU newspaper.
The BYU Bookstore was awesome. The first thing we saw when we walked in were a table of modest undershirts. Abbey and I have clocked in hours at the malls trying to find these! And, here we are, in modest city, with a whole table laid before our eyes in all different colors. We snatched up several. Naturally, we also had to buy something to get her in the spirit of her next adventure:
(Isn’t she adorable?!)
My latest repetitive question I get from people are, “I’ll bet you’re really going to miss her, huh?” These people know how close Abbey and I are and she is absolutely my best friend. But, it’s funny. At this time, I don’t feel like I’m going to “miss her”. I’m totally excited about her next stage and this adventure she has chosen. As I have contemplated why I don’t feel like I’m going to be crushed with her leaving is this: I am confident in our relationship we have. It is strong and solid. Distance will not threaten it. We know we will be as close as ever. She already has me set up for Skype and her Christmas present was a cell phone on our calling plan. She will share her journey every step of the way as she always has. I have always enjoyed the privilege of walking alongside my children on their own personal journeys, and it will continue when they leave our home as when they are here.
The strength of our relationship bonds us across the miles.