visiting college

We left late yesterday morning and walked to the train.
It was brisk and clear when we bought Peanut M&M's for brunch and boarded the 12:10.
I had asked Middle if we would be bringing iPods and although he said yes we had a few minutes before the train pulled out to chat.

He looked up from his seat at 12:05 and had a little start because he thought this guy

German guy

was staring at him. I reassured him that it was just Eurolush's husband and he calmed down.

Then this ad caught his eye -

10 or 5

Oh look! He said quietly, ten or five dollars off. It might be ten, but it's probably only five, and by the time you pay the tax you'll really be paying the full price. But it might be ten! Read the fine print cause you never know. But with your luck it WILL be five. And there's the tax. And probably a fee...do you really want to do this? Because it's not cheap.
And, with that, which doubled me over (I was nervous), he slipped his earpodthings in and settled back for the ride.

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I, of course, took longer to settle in.
I gave our tickets to the conductor.
I unwound my earphones.
I did some of the crossword puzzle.
But I was fidgety.

I spotted this passenger, wearing sequins and gold embellished flats

reading in sequins

and was going to say that I thought it was a little early in the day for sequins, but then I saw that she was reading one of those electronic book things and decided that she was kind of groovy.

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Middle continued to relax.
Gah. He is always so relaxed. HOW DOES HE DO THAT?
I listened to my music and read the paper....

We arrived at the station and walked for a while to our destination.

silver jacket

I thought this woman was worthy of a photo but in profile we miss her accessories.
She had a large rhinestone brooch in her hair and her jacket was silver satin-ish material.
Middle has long legs and walks quickly. It was all I could do to keep up and it was crowded. We dodged and weaved through several packs of tourists and were too early to go into the school.
He decided he was hungry so we stopped in a Starbucks.
It seemed to me to be a solitary outpost kind of Starbucks. You know how all Starbucks stores look the same? How the signage and set up are all uniform? Well, this one wasn't. It was kind of wonky inside - a funny little store, packed with interesting people. Not interesting neighborhoody people, but people like the ones in the Men In Black movies - people who are really aliens in human disguises. One guy was in scrubs and had a strange team jacket on and an odd expression. The lady at the table next to us was working on a laptop and listening to her iPod but she looked like she was DISGUISED as a lady with a laptop.

good shoes

Good shoes. In Starbucks.

Outside, the air was full of blossoms blowing in the wind. I tried to get a picture of the blossom snow but it was impossible...

trees

We still had time when I spied a good thrift shop. We decided to step in.
Middle took some pictures -

He was very fond of this chair -

throne

throne tag

and $14sqinklyingish is not a bad price for such a chair.

book

Very Middle.

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Huge, heavy and cheap. Middle was impressed with my knowledge of midcentury IBM typewriters. Remind me to teach him about carbon paper.

cash register

We admired this too - $75. Is that a good price for a cash register, mom? Apparently I had given him a false impression of my machine knowledge by boasting about the typewriter.

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portrait

I think these should be hung together in someone's home. Not mine. But someone's.

good floor

Odd boy that he is, Middle really liked the floor of the shop.
Note that he is wearing his prom Cons. You know, because he dressed up for the tour.

serious...

FluidPudding says:

(I bet 200 isn't serious. I bet they would take 150.) It's hard for me to take you seriously, Media Cab.

I think Angela says all we need to know about this.

Finally, it was time to walk down the block to the school.
I was trying very hard not to blab on and on and very conscious of looking like a middle-aged mom. We were going to have a college tour! I was a little undone.

We found our way to a lounge in the admissions department, Middle filled out some forms and I worked hard to be aloof.
There were five or six other kids there with their parents.
A Japanese girl with her tiny bespectacled, suspendered dad.
An Angelina Jolie type in half a tee shirt.
A girl bent over a tiny sketch book, sketching furiously, with her dad in freaky glasses - taking a little nap.
A Film School type boy with Cons with quotes from movies written on them.
A guy on the phone dealing with a car repair.
And my favorite group - a woman with two daughters. WWTD was wearing a poncho and she looked flustered and annoyed. One of her daughters was Middle's age and very very tanned. The other was loudly trying to figure out where to shop while her family took the tour.
WWTD marched to the desk and made inquiries regarding tuition.
She was given a catalogue and sat on the stairs and complained.

An admissions counselor gave us a little speech, introduced us to our tour guide and sent us on our way.
The tour guide had the most beautiful accent (Portuguese?) and funky glasses. She was a film student.

We saw lots of wonderful things -

lab

Large lab rooms for things I don't know about like Final Cut and Avid and After Effects and Rendering.

computers

Room after room that looked like K's office in my basement. Minus about 4000 pounds of crappe.
Middle asked several impressive questions while WWTD asked ridiculous questions and did a good job of preventing me from being Embarrassing Mom. When she mentioned that she knew AC's do lighting work Middle caught my eye from across the room. (AC's are assistant CAMERA people and have nothing to do with lighting - and her faux pas would have been fine save for the fact that she made an ass of herself for most of the tour - talking and complaining.)

ceiling, ad studio

There was a lot of great workspace, it appears to be a very student driven school - and most of the kids were working very intensely.

floor

It felt right. It was clearly a think-tank kind of place and I could easily imagine Middle flourishing there.
We ran into his Saturday teacher who was charming and very happy to see Middle.

WWTD cornered me in a hallway: DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS COSTS? She demanded. I looked at her with some disbelief, why would she be there if she didn't know about the school?
DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE DORM FEES ARE? She made me very nervous. I brushed her off politely but, inside, I was angry - I heard her saying that she might send her daughter to the school because she "likes to take pictures." All I could think of was her daughter taking a coveted spot from another applicant, and not caring one way or the other.
She disappeared, with her daughter, about three quarters of the way through the tour.

After we were done being shown around, Middle had questions regarding combining two areas of study which I cannot hope to reproduce accurately here as I have only the most basic understanding of his concerns.
He wants to learn 3D computer effects which is part of the computer graphics department but wants to be a film student with a bent toward post production. Can those two things be combined? Our guide did not know and sent us back to admissions where we sat for quite a while with the Director Of Admissions for the Film Department who indulged Middle and talked at great length about the program and asked about his grades and encouraged him to seek a scholarship and offered to look at his reel and edit his application essay AND AND AND,
it would appear that the College Of Middle's choice is just as interested in HIM as he is in THEM.

And it was only in the very last moments of this meeting that I put my foot in, a little. Middle was explaining that he has been a film student for several years and has a bit of experience and knowledge of certain programs - he was asking if the most introductory courses would be: THIS IS A CAMERA, as he was worried that he'd spend freshman year bored. He was reassured that his skill would be assessed upon entry and that it sounded like he might be able to be exempt from the basics if he was more advanced and while Middle fumbled for the briefest moment, and was modest, I said: my husband is an editor and has worked in film for many years, I think what Middle is trying to say is that he has grown up in this world....
And then I shut right up and made myself very still and hoped that I had not overstepped. The Director was neither impressed nor annoyed and said that K must then know that The School Of Middle's Choice was the best environment for Middle to grow in.
And I quite agree.

We left exhilarated. We walked back to the train and Middle tried to explain why the cameras at the school were superior.
But I was deaf to these details.
I called K to tell him about our visit.
I Struggled to keep up.
I had the WWTD's words about the tuition rattling around in my head and worried about money.
I thought about how college hallways, full of students, seem so full of possibility and potential.
I shoved it all to the back of my brain and realized that Middle belongs there.
And when we got to the train and the excitement eased up, I told him that I hoped I didn't overstep by mentioning K - and he reassured me.
I told him I was very very proud of him, and he looked a little confused.
I told him he can go to school there and he looked excited, and he leaned back, put his earphonethings in his ears and settled in...while I let my thoughts race again and fought back the worry and imagined him, in the Fall of 09.
An inspired film student. At a wonderful school.

uniform

He'll fit right in.

Comments

paola said…
I know I've told you many times.
You are the perfect mother.
Hence, your children are great. Each and every one of them.
This time we could appreciate Middle, his skills, his knowledge and his great potential.
It was a wonderful day.
eurolush said…
That IS my husband. And, we're VERY much in love.

So back off bitches.
Angela said…
Why did this post get me all teary-eyed?! "They're all growing up too fast, I tell you!" cried the woman with the kids who aren't even in kindergarten yet.

Your boys are amazing. And apples don't fall far from trees.

(And I'm honored to have been quoted here!)
eurolush said…
Also, I have that same Clown painting on my living room wall.

Only it's a full body rendering.

And it's to scale.

i heart clowns.
readersguide said…
How exciting! College is exciting!

And we met WWTD, or her equivalent, on every single college tour we took. Hence, it was very easy to be a well behaved parent, with such an obvious example of bad behavior before us.

How exciting!
alice c said…
He will fit right in ...and he will squeeze every drop out of the opportunities that he is given...and however proud you are of him now - it will only be the start of what he achieves.

Go, Middle!
Fannie Mae said…
This is so exciting! You feel it, he feels it and the school feels it. Which means they'll try really hard to make this happen. ( And I puffy pink heart moms who make me look less embarassing!)
whitneybee said…
This story made me a little teary-eyed as well, and I don't even have kids.

(Though if/when I decide to have kids, your stories make me wish that they'll be boys.)
Rae said…
The other people were cataloguing Middle as the boy with the hip mom who didn't ask annoying questions.
tut-tut said…
Yikes; L might be at a precollege summer program in a very large East Coast city this summer for a week. I'm very nervous at the thought.
In the fall of 09 - I so understand how this next year will fly - you want them to follow their dreams , you want to still cuddle them and I suspect that you are able to do both with that fine son of yours.

Voted last night - off to see whether it will let me vote again!
barbra said…
Oh my god, you kill me. I am crying right now!
dani3boyz said…
Hey. Where'd my comment go?
Badger said…
I would be shouting YAY MIDDLE if I didn't think shouting would cause me to cough up another hunk of lung. So instead I am whispering it quietly and doing a little chair dance.

And, wait ... he listens to Motley Crue? For real? I may have to dedicate this week's Song Lyric Saturday to him.

Right after I VOTE.
JJ said…
how lucky he is to know what he wants to study and to have parents who encourage him. this post made me very nostalgic for the anticipation of college and proud to "know" both you and middle.
Miz S said…
I didn't get teary-eyed (the medication prevents that HA I'M CUH-RAZY)but I did smile and feel happy for you and your boy. This is an exciting step.
Anonymous said…
That school looks just RIGHT. I am of the teary-eyed variety over here, and think you are all very lucky to have each other.
ErinH
paula said…
It's the hardest and best thing watching them fly on their own.

You'll both do well...
jenontheedge said…
Wow wow WOW!!!

This is all so very exciting!
kmkat said…
Yay, Middle and bb! What an exciting day. All through I was trying to decide what school y'all were investigating -- perhaps Tisch? My boy graduated last year, not from Tisch, but from the College of Arts & Sciences at that very large university of which they are both a part. He loved it there, both the school and [especially] the city.
RW said…
I loved hearing about this adventure.
Amy A. said…
Bless your heart, bb.
Scot said…
I think your kids are amazing, all of them. Its so nice to hear about them. I like middle's video, just voted again. 2 thinhs we haven't discussed: 1 the log in is CaSe SeNsItIvE - so be careful...2 some of the other videos really suck! I've finally gotten around to watching some of the others AND the actual movie Cloverfield. Wow...on so many levels!
I do have to be honest about one thing here.....that is one ugly chair. Looks like it should have wrist and arm restraints and a little metal cap that slides down onto your head, right before they turn on the electricity. However, it does go well with that floor. Very castley.
FYI...it stopped snowing around
11:oo pm - today was cold!
kt said…
Thanks for sharing your adventure with us-Yay for Middle and Mum!
Suzanne said…
So exciting! I'm glad the tour went as well as it did and the School's apparent interest in Middle matches Middle's interest in said School.

It sounds like the perfect fit all around. Not that I had any doubt he would find the perfect place and secure himself a spot.

Congratulations to you and Middle both. I can't wait to hear more in the ongoing saga.
Eleanor said…
You got me all teary too. But then I read eurolush's comments and I was all hyserical laughter. Your comment box is one huge mood swing for me!

I visited a film studio a few months ago and there were all of these young guys and gals wandering the corridors with their hoodies and Cons. It was 10am, they all looked half-asleep, they were going in and out of the kitchen with huge bowls of cereal (I saw mostly Coco Pops). The woman I was meeting with told me they were all animators, and she pointed to one (particularly young and sleepy looking) and said "and that guy...he's a total genius".

It's a fabulous world out there, go and grab it Middle!!!!!

P.S That woman in the train...was that a Kindle? I've heard about that...how exciting!
Melissa said…
BB--I adore your posts where you go on an adventure and include your readers--all the stream of consciousness description and impressions, and photos to boot!

It sounds like both Middle and the school will be happy with the match, and isn't that the best feeling? To see your child Right Where They Belong for Best Results. So happy for you both.
Carol said…
The scholarships are available - you just need the right guidance (which I might know a thing or two about although I'm retired) and then it's a done deal. If he gets into a place that he feels comfortable - he'll flourish and excel.

What more could one want?
Eliane said…
Sound absolutely wonderful! Did I ever tell you that I made sure to buy a life time supply of carbon paper when I started fearing it would become extinct?
I think someone stole the King's Throne from Westminster Abbey, in which case it was a bargain price!

I have a friend who is an instructor at Full Sail. When he speaks Rendering, my eyes glaze over.

Embarrassing Mom on our tour was a woman who asked if the shuttles always ran on time because her
(extremely obese) daughter was a busy pre-med student who needed to get to class on time.
Anonymous said…
1) I second Melissa's comments. Your chronicles are the perfect blend of the unexpected and the very satisfying.
2) I work at a university and unfortunately, some of the parents can be downright rude. It's awful, and while I know it must be hard for them to let their children go, I appreciate the ones such as you who know when to step back and let their young adult child take ownership of their new circumstances.
3) My boyfriend from college was in the film school, and while he is not a Steven Spielberg, he has been steadily employed in the industry ever since school, and all his hard work before and during college really paid off. And luckily, he's still one of my dearest friends, which is also something that Middle can look forward to: meeting new and wonderful people that may remain in his life for years to come.

jbhat
GlennCoppola said…
That guy in the first picture looks like Danile Craig! Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyy!!!
MizMell said…
Of to college in '09? Great--you have time to gather the funds for his adventure. If done the financial aid thing a time or two and it really helps. I'll be happy to share my knowledge...
Julie said…
I don't even want to think about how much college will be when I have kiddos.

At the college I work for now its 50K .... yea.
Kristin said…
I actually call my middle child, "Middle", so I probably took this post a little too emotionally involved in this journey...

Um, where do I vote?
Cara said…
Clicked over here from Bemused.

I have two degrees (undergrad and grad) from the school you and Middle visited. I loved every minute of both degrees. In fact, as an undgrad, it was the only school where I applied. Best decision ever.

Good luck to your son!