by Doctor Science
I got back yesterday from dropping Sprog the Younger off at BALAC (the Boston Area Liberal Arts College where she's a freshman). It took a lot less time than I expected, because they used a move-in procedure I only heard about last year, when an e-friend encountered it moving her sprog into the University of Toronto. I'm guessing it's become common for colleges in urban areas or where parking is at a premium.
What happens is that you drive up with your offspring and a car full of stuff, and they sort you by dorm into a holding area parking lot. Every so often they send a group up to the dorm and direct you to a parking space. You open all the doors & the trunk and stand back as a swarm of college athletes descends on the car, emptying it in a single go and taking everything up to the room without you doing anything. Meanwhile, someone has whisked your kid off to pick up her key and other paperwork.
She gets back in about 5 minutes, and the car is already empty! It's incredibly fast and painless, and also doesn't involve campus being clogged with randomly-parked cars for a whole day.
There were various activities for parents to do in the course of the day but Sprog didn't really want me to hang around, so I left. Among other things, she wanted to spend some time with her roommates, who she'd been getting to know over Facebook for the past month or so. Neither of them had family hanging around -- one is from India, while the other came for one of the pre-orientation activities so her parents had already left to go back to the Midwest. It definitely gives a different flavor to Freshman Week when you can form some connections before you get there. Back in the 70s this was only true for the well-connected, alumni kids with siblings who were also at Princeton, or people from the private schools and handful of public schools that sent cohorts.
The nest isn't really empty, at the moment, because we've also got one of the Boomerang Generation. She's working hard to get out, but it's really difficult these days -- I couldn't believe how many of us ended up chatting in the drug store the other day about "my kid who's on Medicaid".
I don't really feel the cliche of "How'd the time go by so fast?" It seems to me as though it's been a really busy 18 years, full of all kinds of events. I can understand how a relative who doesn't see the kid very often would feel like "they grow up so fast! just the other day you were portable!", but to me it really does feel like a lifetime has gone by in her lifetime.
Although at least half the time when I dream, she's still portable.
Sprog the Younger has always had this kind of personality -- she was the one who fell head-first from a shopping cart, was caught (by the bagger) only two inches from impact, and promptly demanded, " AGAIN!" A member of Future Bungee Jumpers of America, I called her.