Journalist Sally Kalson, parent of a 2012 Kenyon graduate, passed away last weekend. She wrote about her daughter’s graduation for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which reprinted it as one of her signature columns.
Most parents have, by this point in the school year, received a text or a phone call announcing that the roommate is fine, the food is fine, and classes are fine. Or not. Let’s all take a deep breath and wait for … a letter.
I penned a letter to my daughter, Maria, just before she left for Kenyon the fall of her freshman year. Since leaving her home in Hawaii to make a new home in Ohio, Maria has completed two eventful years of college: declaring a film major, earning a 3.5 GPA, collecting two national diving championships, and being named NCAA Diver of the Year. While she certainly doesn’t need my advice on how to write an award-winning essay (she did that) or how to dive for another country in the Commonwealth Games (she’s doing that, too), I believe there are some words of wisdom only a parent can bestow.
Kenyon is not a small town. Gambier isn’t even a small town. This may come as a surprise to city or suburban parents who think they are sending their children to the quintessential New England-style school in a small town in Ohio. But Kenyon (and Gambier) are not Main Street, America, and you won’t find Homer Price’s donut-making machine in the shop on the corner with the accompanying 25-cent cup of coffee.
Once college applications are completed, students will find themselves in the midst of a lull period, during which high school seniors experience an interminable limbo while still feeling pressure to keep up their grades. So as a parent, what do you do?