Wednesday, June 19, 2013

College Parent 101

I have been having this strange problem for the past couple of days. I can't seem to get the song, "Rocky Top" out of my head! It might be due to the fact that we were treated to a live song-and-dance routine performed by the student orientation leaders OR the fact that the ENTIRE song was played over the P.A. system in the dorm this morning as the wake-up call (thank goodness I was already awake).

I think it's safe to say that after spending 48 hours at New Student/Parent Orientation Session 10 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, I am officially a college parent and have successfully completed College Parent 101!

I don't have anything to compare my experience to, since I haven't been a college freshman in almost thirty a very long time, but my opinion is that the people at UTK do a TOP NOTCH job with giving new students and parents a tremendous amount of necessary and helpful information in a way that can be digested and hopefully remembered (or we can at least look back at the paper and electronic resources they offer). It was definitely time well spent!

When we arrived on campus on Tuesday morning, it was pouring down rain, but I still saw orientation leaders standing outside to direct us to the places we needed to go (and they have groups coming and going at the same time, like a revolving door). The parents were corralled in one location and the students were led to another place. Then after we all got registered, the parents were escorted to an auditorium and were welcomed with cheers and shouts with orange and white pompoms waving. No, they didn't have the UT cheerleaders there, but it was our students who had been instructed to cheer for their parents as they arrived into the room. Daniel said they had the help of a recorded "cheering track" but it was still a fun way to start the orientation.

Most of the time was spent with the students and parents in separate sessions, which was fine. Students and parents need most of the same information, but probably not delivered in the same way, so they knew what they were doing by splitting us up. Also, you had parents there that were all along the spectrum, from it being their first child to the last and even some parents who jokingly asked if they could just go ahead and leave their kids there for college now.

I opted to stay in the dorm for one night and that was my least favorite part of the orientation visit. Let's just say that I've had too many years of living in more pleasant conditions and with the comforts of "home" to have an enjoyable stay in a dorm room that was built in the 1960s. I can do most anything for one night and I am glad that I was able to stay on campus and get to walk around to explore on my own.

Daniel came away from orientation with his fall class schedule pretty much nailed down and had a good time in his sessions, although he thought they were way too long. On the way home as we both "debriefed" and processed the info we took in, we both felt confirmation that UTK is where Daniel is meant to go to college. I even had realization that I can't even picture Daniel as a student at any other college that we visited. Of course, it's a good thing, since he's registered at UT, but to have him feel very excited about getting to move to campus in August makes this mom very content!

Here are some pictures I took on my self-guided walking tour of campus when things got quiet yesterday evening. I'm pretty sure I'm falling in love with the place!

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