Monday, February 23, 2009

Still Looking - or How PPP spent her 18th Birthday

Still looking at colleges. What? That's not February, nor is it Virginia? Right on all accounts.
It's Rhodes. But about now, they are all starting to look kind of alike.

In Virginia at Hollins, it's neither home, nor beautiful November. It's the middle of winter and roughly 47 degrees colder tonight than when we left home. Not roughly, EXACTLY. Anyway, everytime the heater ROARS to life in this hotel, it wakes me up. And every time I wake up, it's still not my window. And we're still looking at this college.

Thank you Hotel Roanoke, I love your gorgeous restoration, and the fact that I have to pay to park about 7 blocks away, and that the maid stared at me when I got another tiny bar of soap. Also thanks for letting me stay in your hotel on POINTS, because BigD has spent so many nights in your sister hotels. PPP is particularly incensed that we have to pay for internet access. Internet access at any time or place is a GOD GIVEN RIGHT, as any self-respecting 18 year old will tell you. This trip, it's worth $10/day.

Saturday, PPP and I made an early trip out in search of a laundromat, and washed her jeans. That is the way we celebrate a birthday in our family - we go to the laundromat.

We took a sneak peak at Hollins. Early on Saturday morning, not a creature was stirring. Shades drawn, silent, deserted. Not even the horses were evident. Hollins has a big EQUINE program. Just ask them.
Auntie Bootza arrived, fresh from DC (call it DC, that's what locals call it - DC), we went and found lunch, and discovered that Roanoke is all retro-hippy, and has a 'thriving art scene' and 'niche-y galleries and art hot spots.' Bootza gets all excited about that stuff and used to live here, so that was fun. However, Wal-Mart is Wal-Mart where ever you are.

Also, back to Hollins. Saturday afternoon, still not a creature stirring. Well maybe a couple of creatures. Someone had let some horses out, though they were inside a fence and wearing coats. A picture would be nice here, but I cannot find the little cord - here yesterday, gone today.

For us with no equine savvy, it was a relief that the horses were behind a fence. For all the talk about the EQUINE program, we were concerned about the horses roaming free in the Quad, and wondered exactly how they kept the campus clean, what with all the horses. So...good to know - no free roaming horses and someone was actually ON CAMPUS this weekend.

We tooled around town, until we were through. We walked the many frigid blocks after parking, to find that yet again, the Hotel Roanoke had rolled the red carpet out for us.
I guess they rolled the red carpet out to make up for how cold it is when the parking is a mile away. Also, the internet thing.

Sunday was the BIG DAY. First, we had to re-shop for some warmer clothes. Target is Target where ever you are.College shopping involves maps, tours with student guides walking backwards, bottled water and Starbucks. One must consider what they tell you, in their slick brochures and DVDs and cool little recruiting tools, then find actual evidence that what they have said does indeed exist. On paper, every college is the perfect place to learn. I know that isn't Hollins, it's Rhodes - remember the whole 'camera/cord' issue?

PPP wants to study science and is afraid of horses. Hollins has a huge EQUINE program and one of very few Creative Writing majors in the country. We knew this much. BUT.... according to the Admissions reps who are attentive and effective, they also have a thriving pre-med program, a swim team that is growing, and a lacrosse team that is not overly vicious. They also claim that there are lots and lots of appropriate inter-collegiate activities including young men, and a thriving social life on campus. (which explains the totally deserted campus on the weekend? I guess the social-ness must thrive elsewhere)

They want PPP. In fact they want her enough to invite her to compete for a big honorary scholarship. So we came. Seriously, I really, really didn't MAKE her come.

Today - speeches and panels: The student panel consisted of 2 art history majors and 2 creative writing majors - all of them pretty excited about the downtown Roanoke gallery scene, and the business of art. We learned that they have a big HORSE barn. And championship horsewomen. Also, lots of studio art, theater and creative writing. It snowed while we were walking the campus tour. S. N. O. W.For easy reference, this is what home looks like now. In the flurries, our college tour guide never made it to the science building, though we did hear about Siberia, the parking lot for freshmen. We saw the outside of the theater, the art studio, and the grass quad that nobody can walk on except seniors.
Things we did not see: Science building. Labs. Students who were not musicians, writers, photographers, art historians. Teachers. Anything to do with lax or swimimng. Siberia.

The girls went to 'spend the night on campus' (which was slowly re-populating) while Hollins entertained the parents at a lovely reception at the home of the President of the University - lovely home, lovely food, lovely President. Since I am the parent, I got to go be lovely. Every parent I talked to had a daughter coming to study creative writing. Three are bringing their horses along with them. Their own personal horses.

Coincidentally, I had 3 separate conversations too: with the Chair of the Parent Council, with the Assistant Director of Admission and last but not least, with the lovely President of the University about the sciences- as in do they teach science here, or just write creatively about it? Also, do they have labs here, or just barns? I mean seriously, they surely could have told us this information on the phone, prior to the drive and missing 2 days of school.

I don't know that there's a more homesick hour of the day than Sunday evening. It was always for me, and I went to college about 15 minutes from home. When BigB was far away, he and I BOTH got homesick on Sunday night, and I was AT HOME.
Tonight, as the sun was going down and homesick rose in my throat, PPP and I stood in a cold hall, amidst a lot of very talented creative writers/horsewomen. We have had a frigid tour, heard effusive presentations about art history and creative writing, and discovered that out of all the classes available for her to visit tomorrow, only 2 were sciences, Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, at the same time. We have seen one lacrosse goal, and determined that they have a pool. The swim coach wrote her a note with a cell phone number.

PPP wondered aloud "Is there anyone here like me?"

It's well after midnight, and I am wondering the same thing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ugh! I hope that she finds the right "college fit". Being happy where you go is soo important! Sounds like you guys need to keep looking....