Experience Matters

Want to know a secret?

I didn’t go to college.

Well, I didn’t go to more than 1 semester of college.

We moved. Life happened.  Shrug.

I never really worried about it, there have been a couple of jobs that wanted college degrees, but we were able to count my work experience in lieu of a degree and I have managed to get along just fine in life.

This this started happening:

Acceptance at Did That Just Happen Blog

Acceptance letters have started coming in for Mr. T.

Our lives have been very focused on what colleges he wants to attend, what colleges are good fits, the program offerings, the degree program, what can he take at local community college and scholarships!

Lots and lots of scholarships!

The other night I attended a FAFSA overview at school.

College scholarship hunting at Did That Just Happen Blog

College preparation checklist.

I’m pretty sure I will never be prepared!

Santa brought him a dorm fridge at Christmas.

And he got a small vacuum, lots of tupperware and some command hooks.

Time to get ready for dorm life!

This is a great experience, and if he gets good scholarship money (can we all just pray for this, please?) he’ll most likely be required to live on campus.  And we are excited and ready for this!

But the other day, we were talking, and he goes, “I’ve narrowed my selection down, I want to go here, and I don’t think they have dorms, so I’ll be commuting.”

Okay, not going to lie, I am totally okay if he lives at home while attending college.


But I understand that experience matters – and I want him to have that experience.  I don’t want him to limit himself.  I want him to keep his options open, we haven’t even done FAFSA yet, so we have time.

I imparted to him how I didn’t want him to deny himself the opportunity, to deny the experience.  It was important to me that he do what he wanted, we would figure everything else out.

And – as often as I marvel at this kid – sometimes he actually reminds me that he IS mine after all, and he let me know, that the “experience” didn’t matter, his goal was to go, learn, and do what he needed to do in order to get what he needed to succeed in this world.  That he has been researching and talking to administration and other teachers, and he thinks that he has found the best route to take.  So, we talked about it.

It made sense.

We returned the dorm fridge the other day and got a gift card instead.  And that gift card will be set aside until it is time, and he can decide if he needs a fridge or if there are other supplies he will need for school.

I guess experience is what we make it.


44 thoughts on “Experience Matters

  1. It looks like my comment didn’t save… I went on a blog break during the blizzard here, so I am trying to catch up a bit…

    This post resonated with me mostly because I sent my oldest daughter off to college this year… she was so ready to go that it was much less difficult to leave her there than I expected! That said, I would have totally supported her commuting to a closer school if that’s what she wanted (as long as it wasn’t because she was afraid to step out of her comfort zone), and I probably would have done a little happy dance when she wasn’t looking! I think it’s important that we hear our kids when they talk about what they want for their future… sounds like you do! 🙂

    • I’m so glad this resonated (and sorry, your comment actually got lost on my site!) and it’s good to know you just went through this!! I keep telling myself I’m ready if he wants to go away… and I know I can do it… but yes, there will be a discreet happy dance should he decide to stay closer!! 🙂

  2. Again, a nod to your own awesomeness…Mr. T is awesome! Having had 2 children go off to college (which is more recent than my own brief college experience) I agree that the experience is more than important, it is vital. Also, each experience is unique to the individual. I know you are a proud mom, and rightfully so. No matter what choice he makes I know it will be a good and the right one for both of you.

    • I think so, he has agreed to be open to all possibilities and I have agreed not to force! I didn’t care to have the experience, so I understood him when he told me he didn’t either, but I don’t want him to have FOMO fear of missing out! 🙂 We shall see!

  3. Exciting times ahead for Mr T and for you Kate! With you by his side he can’t go wrong. I’ll keep my fingers and toes crossed for the scholarships. Mr T has a good head on his shoulders. He is a lucky young man to have such an inspiring mum. Good luck xxx

  4. Will pray for T that he makes the right decision, but with you by his side? I’m sure he will! 😉 A degree while it is important, isn’t the be and end all of things. 😀 You continue to amaze me Kate! 😀❤️

    • Well thank you Dean! Sometimes when I write these posts, the comments surprise me more than anything – I thought I wrote a post about getting ready for college and decisions, and yet, y’all are so awesome and I’ve gotten such support for me! Thank you so much, it means the world to me!

  5. But on the up side you do get your boy for a bit longer. I do get what you say about wanting them to have the experiences though. I just shared your quote up above on Facebook. It made me cry. xo

  6. Personally, I did better in school when I was living at home. The dorm is a good experience, but even kids with good intentions sometimes lose sight of their goals. Sometimes I needed my mom to storm into my room and shake me until I woke up for class 😉 I think the main thing is, the less you get him to work (as in real life job), the better. Because then he will have time for class, to study, to make friends and to wonder around and participate in clubs and things. You’re such a great mom though. I marvel over the fact that you LISTEN to Mr. T and let him tell you what HE needs. I was pushed into college because my parents told me I would have been nothing without it. They meant well, but it’s the biggest regret of my life because it wasn’t for me. A adult who listens (and actually hears) is a gem 😉

    • Thank you so, so very much! So often I am told that I’m the parent and it’s my decision, and I shouldn’t be putting so much weight on T’s opinion – he’s just a kid after all, and man, that can wear a mom down – So your words really touched my heart this morning! It has always been important to me that we be a family, even when (especially when) it is just the two of us. Decisions matter – and don’t get me wrong, he’s had to do plenty he didn’t want to! But, I have done my best to make sure I take him into account with my decisions 🙂

  7. First off, as you know, Mr T is AWESOME!! He is so aware. He reminds me of my stepson at times ( I call my stepson my “12 year old sage” ) As a college prof, I always hope the student makes a choice that truly resonates with him or her (and this often comes down to intangibles not found in brochures 🙂 ). When that happens, it is wonderful to see students blossom within the experience of college.

    • That’s what I really hope, that he makes a decision that resonates with him – and not one totally based on money! He wants to graduate with as little debt as possible, but I don’t want him to limit himself, I keep telling him that the money will come and to be open – and he is, but he has also done a lot of research, and seems to be making as informed a decision is humanly possible! 😀

  8. I definitely pushed my two to go away to university and get the full college “experience” – and they both appreciated it, having made the best friends of their lives during those years they lived away, immersed in the experience. My niece, on the other hand, desperately wanted to go to a specific uni (the same one my son attended), which meant living away from home due to distance, and she has hated every single moment of the dorm experience in her first semester. At Christmas you could tell the last thing she wanted to do was go back there, but, she knew she had made her decision on her own. I secretly hope she switches to a community college close to home that she can commute from for her remaining years, because 4 years is an awful long time to be miserable. 😦

    Anyway, my way of saying, every kid is different, and sometimes they genuinely don’t know what they want or need. Sounds like T has put in a ton of research and feels good about his decision, which is awesome!

    • I have been pushing him to have the experience. which is why at Christmas he got the fridge, vacuum, tupperware and tool kit! LOL, but he came to me a few days ago and filled me in on what he really wanted – and (at this point) he doesn’t feel the dorm experience is something he needs… so I’m not arguing, but I did ask him to be open to the possibility, and he agreed!

      • I’m sure he’s making the right decision for himself, which is the best thing he can do!

        I’ll share a little story – on the off-chance that he may be choosing to commute because of concern for whether you could handle being alone.

        Last Christmas, one of my son’s best friend (and housemate) lost his mom to cancer. He was wrapping up his final year in his undergrad program, and had already received early admission to Law School (at the same uni). He decided to apply to University of Toronto law so that he could commute while living home with his dad, deeply concerned how his dad would cope with having lost his wife, and having his youngest (Ryan’s sister) going away to uni as a Freshman in the fall. For Ryan, he chose to be there for his dad – which I think is amazing and heartwarming!

        I’m not suggesting T is making a decision based on concern for you – but just putting it out there that he may have such a big heart that he is worried how you would do in an empty nest. (And who wouldn’t want a kid who is that sensitive and caring??!)
        Anyway – big hugs of congratulations to him for being accepted so many places and for having the wisdom to choose the best one for him!

        p.s. I think you are an amazing mom for continuing to push him to being open to the various options! I know it can’t be easy. (I pushed my kids to leave and then wound up a snot-filled ugly-crier, totally breaking down in the middle of the dorm BOTH TIMES!) 🙂 🙂 🙂

  9. Tears! Oh Mr. T and you! Some of my favorite memories from college was living in the dorms and figuring out my way. I can’t say that I would have had that same experience living at home and not living 6 hours away, in a different state. However, my sil is in college (21 yr age difference between my hubs and her) TMI. Anyway, she lives on her own and runs home every chance she gets. So I think College is what YOU make it. And just going to College was an experience in itself. I’m sure Mr. T will have a positive experience no matter where he choose to go!

    • I’ve done all I can to encourage him to have that experience, I didn’t want him to feel like he was missing out – but he really doesn’t think he will be missing out, and is ready to go if necessary – but his goal is to come out of college with as little debt as possible, and get through it as fast as possible (he has already saved up to pay for an entire summer semester at the local community college so that he is getting a big head start on the University program). I can’t argue with that! He is going to make it what it needs to be for him, and I really am so proud of him! I don’t feel like I missed out – so he is a bit like me in that regard, lol, that much time surround by other people holds no appeal! 🙂

    • Thank you Fallon, I really am proud of him! Sometimes he needs a day or two to put it in words, but when he comes to me, it is always with a well thought out plan, and I don’t argue with him. He takes time to see all sides so I know it’s an informed decision on his part!

  10. jeff7salter says:

    Our son went to a local college and lived with us at home.
    My daughter went a couple years to local community college and stayed with us at home.
    but when she moved to Memphis and became a flight attendant, I thought a chunk of my heart relocated with her.

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