College tours succumb to parental pressure


Confession: my mom is more excited about college than I am. By far.

She has all the excitement, but none of the anxiety. Having gone through the process with my older siblings, my mom is now an (uncertified) expert on everything and anything college.

This becomes all too clear when we visit colleges.

From the grassy, Starbucks-filled campuses to the massive, musky libraries, even the crummy, suspiciously-stained dorm rooms make her “ooo” and “aww.” It’s an ongoing joke that she’s the one going to college, not me, because everything’s “so interesting” to her.

Going on tours with her, I find it hard not to laugh, but just as hard not to cry.

“You know, Jackie, this could be a really good fit for you.”

“You know, a big school has a lot of opportunities, but I think you want something a little more close-knit.”

“You know, I don’t think you want to be too far away from home…”

Mentioning this to my friends, I get a lot of sympathetic nods and murmurs of agreement. Sage Vouse ’15 calls her experiences “mildly-upsetting”  and “anxiety-inducing.” That about sums it up; going on a tour with my mom isn’t the apocalypse, but it is uncomfortable and stressful.

When the guide asks for questions, I find myself holding my breath. Maybe she’s just going to ask about class sizes, but still,  the second her words leave her throat, I already feel suffocated.

One tour with an over-enthusiastic college student, and suddenly I’m supposed to know what I want in my college? I can barely decide on breakfast.

It feels like my entire future is being pinned to death, like a voodoo doll. Harmless comments, like how she thinks a close-by school is “a great safety-net,” or how an open curriculum is “really cutting-edge. You want that,” become really overwhelming, because I have no idea what I want.

Especially when it’s 9 a.m. on a Saturday, and I’d trade anything to be sleeping in, for once.