Monday, July 16, 2012

Change of plans

Once upon a time, there was a girl named B. B was smart and funny and beautiful. She worked hard at school, studied whenever she could, took tough classes, and got straight As. B also got involved in sports, music, drama, and church groups. She volunteered when she could and won numerous school awards and distinctions.

B thought about where she wanted to go to college and when she was a junior in high school, she settled upon The University of Wisconsin in Madison. B and her mom toured the campus on a day when freezing ice pellets pounded their skin. B didn’t notice the frigid weather. The beauty of the campus won her over. She could picture herself walking to her classes with the throngs of students.

B continued to work hard at school and graduated valedictorian with a GPA above 4.0.  She gave a moving speech during graduation that talked about her class being musicians in a symphony, playing a four year masterpiece.  B’s mama was proud of everything her baby had become.

Not long before school was supposed to start, B realized that she couldn’t afford the out of state tuition at UW. No matter how she crunched the numbers, it just wasn’t going to work. B was devastated.

B’s mom was sad too, and was filled with feelings of guilt for naively believing that her daughter could go wherever she wanted to for college if she worked hard enough for it. She felt like a lot of heartache could have been avoided if she’d have known that scholarships are generally granted to students who go to school in-state, because she could have discouraged UW from the start.

B decided that she would have to go to an in-state school. She chose the University of Iowa, which is a fabulous school, even though it’s the arch-rival of B’s mom and dad’s alma mater.  Last week was a flurry of scrambles – administrative tasks and housing applications. By Friday it was official that B would be a Hawkeye instead of a Badger.

Changing schools might not seem like the end of the world. Certainly it's one of those 'first world' problems. But to a kid who has dreamed of her future among the halls of the University of Wisconsin, this is a tough, tough time for B. She has to grieve the end of a dream, and make room for a new reality. In time, she will warm to this new reality and she’ll flourish in Iowa City. But she'll need time to get over the hurt.

B’s mama is very proud of how gracefully B handled the final realization that she wouldn't be able to go to UW. She didn’t throw a tantrum or scream about the unfairness of life. She accepted the reality with a sad dignity that kind of twisted the knife just a little further into B’s mom’s heart.

B has three uncles who went to the University of Iowa. One of them – Uncle L – lives in Kansas City and gave up his weekend on one day’s notice to come up and give B a tour of campus. The fact that he was willing to drop everything and spend 10 hours roundtrip in a car to be there for his niece did not go unnoticed by his big sister.
*photo of L and B touring Uof I:

L showed her around, using his funny tour guide voice and his ‘little known facts’ about campus. It was a fun, light hearted way to try and ease B’s heavy heart. B looked around the campus in Iowa City:
*photo of B on campus looking around:IMG_8111
It's not Madison. And that's hard.

But it will be ok. She can spend her time finding out what she wants to do with herself instead going into a career like medicine to secure the earning potential to pay back such a huge student loan burden. She can relax and get by on a part time job for spending money instead of working her tail off to make ends meet. These thoughts made their way into the conversation this past weekend, so B’s mom knows that her not-so-little little girl will be alright.

Life lessons are tough. But perhaps this is the path she was meant to be on all along…


Wendy Trout said...

Totally understandable, all the feelings! K had filled me in. B will thank u even more when she graduates without a huge debt load (yes, that's the CPA in me talking)! And U of IA is a pretty campus too! Both my siblings went there, and I almost did as wel!

In addition, it is astounding these days the diff btw in and out of state tuition!

Monnik said...

It is completely crazy how much of a difference in tuition there is. It's too bad. But you're right. Iowa is a good school (cough, but Iowa State is better, cough) and it'll all work out in the end.

Beth said...

Man, I love your family.

Kirsten said... I grew up in WI and had wanted to transfer to UW, but as a transfer they require that one has both English and Math gen-eds out of the way, already. I had the English, but not the Math. This is when I decided to move to MI to be with my sweetie (who has been my DH for nearly 16 years). I paid out-of-state tuition for just ONE year and that was really $$--and for a relatively cheap school. Madison isn't a budget school even for those who live in WI.

If B really wants to go to Madison in the future she could consider moving to WI and working for a while...get residency, then apply as a resident.

She'll do great wherever she goes, though!

Lydia said...

Oh, I can imagine that her heart is broken. The wonderful thing about young hearts with good families is that they heal pretty quickly.

I hope she loves Iowa City more than she ever dreamed of loving Madison.

What a good uncle, too!