You have been knocking around my mind for years. Tumbling out of my mouth in random statements and strident assertions, furiously written mid sleep on runaway magazine postcards, and typed in emails to supportive colleagues and friends. I have envisioned your shape, your style, your scale and your purpose. Here you are!
Your birthday is August 25th, 2019. Today just seemed right. Although my inbox is usually overflowing with inquiries from eager and nerved up high schoolers this time of year, tonight it is idle. The animals, including the active puppy we are watching this week, are sound asleep. The air outside is a soft transitional breeze–not quite fall yet never quite became a swimming sun warmed afternoon either. But it is the perfect setting for a blog birth.
My mother sometimes started the school year or celebrated my birthday by leaving a letter on my bedside table. It would be written on brightly colored heavy stationery, the ones with Gwen Frostic designs embellishing them were my favorite. They were at least two pages, so I needed to settle in before I began to decipher her cursive. Mom would tell me what she thought the year ahead may hold, how she hoped that I realized my value (I did not), and then she would describe–with beautiful honesty–my strengths and weaknesses–and her hopes that I would spring forward working with a clear understanding of my potential as I developed my own dreams.
When I reread Mom’s words now, I get choked up at the sincerity of her expression. (I am emotional about family, and effort, and teens, and–well pretty much everything–you will get used to this.) It is not easy to write a report card for your child which predicts the future. It’s even harder to insure that the teen reads it with a clear head and open mind. As a college counselor, I try to reveal to each student what their parents already realize. Finding the space to be self aware and at ease with who one is is a life long journey–yet we ask college applicants to define themselves at a most vulnerable time.
I inherited my love of words from both sides. My father writes to me on paper–and often uses a collage of beautiful stamps both old and new issue to reach the first class rate of fifty-five cents. Dad’s communication style coupled with his to the point content reveals his perceptive and proactive way of supporting others–two traits I strive to use to the benefit of my students.
As my parents’ examples have taught me, I believe in my students and hold myself to a counseling standard that focuses on how details impact the whole journey in unique ways for each college applicant. A lifetime of exposure to diverse communication styles has deeply impacted my understanding of the power of writing, and I hope to bring you to life with these lessons.
On your zero birthday, please know that you are coveted as a place to share opinions on all that is the college admission process. We will share updates and access to information as college opportunities are explored. I want you to be honest and open, thoughtful and funny. You should be blunt when you need to advocate for something or someone. I will fill your space quickly on some days, and struggle to express my thoughts on others, but I promise not to waste our time or the reader’s. Thank you for joining me new friend. Here’s to growing together.
PS: I predated a few of my favorite writing moments and included them here on the dates they were originally published on LinkedIn.