Friday, August 28, 2009

Cycling on a bicycle built for two: anxiety and lethargy

Well ... school has started for 50 percent of the school-aged Buxoms. My son started high school on Monday. He seems to be enjoying it so far. In fact, my anxiety levels are much higher than his.

I don't know whether that's bad or good.

He went from a cute little school here in Newtopia with a graduating class of 60 to the Big Box High School down the road, with a graduating class of over 1,000. He's still incredibly pleased to see a few familiar faces in the crowd.

But academically, I don't think he knows what hit him.

I distinctly remember going from high school to college. At some point I realized something. Unlike at my tiny little prep school, the college faculty didn't particularly care how well I did.

At my prep school, one total loser slacker in a class of 50 (that would be me) means your college acceptance rate dips from 100 to 98 percent, and this won't do. Parents want to be assured that their daughter will get into college. The school's reputation and future tuition income depends on their getting results. And so the faculty polished and perfected me to the best of their abilities. I left a lot to be desired as a student, and only cooperated when I was actually interested. But no matter how much I hated doing homework, they needed to get me into college.

And so, from the first day of ninth grade, the pressure was almost palpable.

But in college? If I flunked out--so what? As far as my college was concerned, it was statistically meaningless.

In fact, having a student fail is a point of pride for a lot of institutions. You know the old story about the assembly of incoming freshmen at MIT. The dean tells them. "Look at the student to your left. Look at the student to your right. One of the three of you won't graduate."

Colleges love feeling badass.

Big high school? I don't know about them. So I'm freaking out a bit, yeah.

In other news, my daughter still hasn't gone back to school. They've undertaken a huge construction project at her school, so they're not starting until September 11th.

So she and I are hanging around the house, looking out the window at the gloomy, neo-November weather, and playing with our computers.

I can't wait for her school to start. This is like waiting for the other shoe to drop.

And then, internet--it'll be just you and me, baby.


  1. I think moms' axiety levels are always much higher than their kids when it comes to school. Or anything for that matter.

    Your poor daughter won't get out of school until mid-summer at the rate they're going!

  2. I have to agree with Suzy on the whole Mom's anxiety thing. I DREADED the beginning of the school year...and I only had one child to deal with. I think I started counting days until summer vacation around September 23rd.

    We keep telling Shortman that he NEEDS to embrace college life. Learn and participate and (in short) do everything that he can to get professors to know him...because that's half the battle. ;-)

    And yet, I can't believe I'm moving him into the dorm in 7 short days.

  3. Who knew there would be all this parental anxiety at the start of a new school year? I somehow can't imagine my own mother feeling like this when I was school age. And I KNOW my kids aren't anxious, they just want to see their friends every day again.

  4. I'm taking the deep breath before I go under. Once September hits, it's like I'm holding my breath underwater for 9 months.


Gentle Readers:

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xxx, Poppy.