College Placement Testing?

schools outDarling Daughter completed her last day of high school last Friday.

Even though she’s done with high school, she and a couple of friends (and their laptops) were gathered around the dining room table last night. Studying. Reviewing high school math and science.

Why?

They can’t schedule their college classes until they take the placement tests. Every college has them. University of Toledo (UT) is no different, though Daughter is required to show up in person. Some colleges allow future students to take these tests online, and then schedule classes either in person or online.

Poor children! They took many elementary and middle school standardized tests.

In Ohio, we’ve got the OGT, or Ohio Graduation Test. Most everybody has the ACT and/or SAT. Let’s not forget AP (Advanced Placement) testing, to get college credit for accelerated coursework taken in high school. And final exams.

Cartoon-GraveSAT

That’s a lot of testing…

Better Daughter than me. All the TESTING would surely have TESTED my patience!!

Especially in Daughter’s case. She has a stellar academic record, has taken difficult classes.

I get it. I realize a few thousand freshmen will descend upon UT next fall. From a variety of high schools. It’s better for everybody if the college places them in the correct classes. No sense in a student sitting through a class, if they know the material inside/out. Nor is there any good reason for a student to enroll in a class–and be doomed to failure because they lack the prerequisites to succeed.

The idea is to get it ‘just right.’

And yet, today’s placement test meant the group studying/reviewing last night dragged themselves from bed at 5 a.m. to trek three hours to the testing location (i.e. the campus they will call ‘home’ next fall).

When I think back to the week that followed my last day of high school, I’m fairly certain I was at the beach. Or sleeping in because I was keeping late hours (going out every night). Some of the kids I graduated with probably weren’t sober from the last day of high school, five days later.

(Of course, those students might not have been college bound…)

What’s next?

Daughter heads back to UT next week for orientation. She’s like that. Want’s to get her schedule set. To check it off her list…

The good news? At least she’ll be ‘tested’ enough to be ‘placed’ in classes!

Does anybody remember college placement testing?

Did your parents go with you? Or not?

Your experience? Memories?

Darling Daughter’s Last Day of High School…and I’m not crying???

katie-meWhat’s wrong with me?

It’s Darling Daughter’s last day of high school. She’s done in a couple of hours.

And I’m not sad…

Prior to opening Facebook last night, I was excited for the long weekend, my weekend plans; including a day trip to Pennsylvania on Saturday and a family picnic on Monday.

Until I saw postings from parent’s on Facebook, I had no idea what time the kids were done with school. Still not sure of the time, but it’s soon. It got me thinking…

So I called Aunt Kate…

Me: What’s wrong with me?

(A loaded question, I know…)

Aunt Kate: There’s nothing wrong with you.

Me: Should I be sad, crying? Is there going to come a time when I’m a mess?

Aunt Kate: Probably not. I never got that way with Joey. (my cousin)

Me: Oh…good.

Aunt Kate: I think you’re more excited for her. I was the same with Joey. He had a great experience in high school. And I was excited for what came next for him.

And as I think about her theory, I think Aunt Kate is right.

Why I’m not feeling sad…

I think because she’s excited to go to college, to choose her dorm room decor, to leave the nest, I’m excited for her.

As for high school, she’s accomplished so much. She doesn’t have regrets. She played sports, joined clubs, took on leadership roles, performed in her schools show choir and was even in several school plays. She took many challenging honors/AP classes. Made friends. Had some fun.

Even did a bit of public speaking as National Honor Society President…

katie speakingAs a mom, I did my best. I’ve certainly enjoyed raising Darling Daughter, felt blessed to have her as my daughter.

There is some relief…

We ALL worry about our kids. But for me, there’s some extra, added worry tied to being a single parent. Statistically, children of single parents are far more likely to have issues; emotionally, with drugs and alcohol, teen pregnancy, poor performance in school and so much more. I’m breathing a little easier knowing that one of my children has successfully navigated the difficult high school years.

Of course, I’m smart enough to know that I’m exchanging one set of worries for another!!

There’s so much to look forward to…

Daughter will soon be a high school graduate.

She’s off to college in the fall. When I do speak to her, or see her, we’ll have more to talk about. She’ll (hopefully) graduate from college. Then will be career decisions, maybe she’ll decide to get married, or have children, or move to a new city, or buy her own home. There are many more milestones to come. So many more things to enjoy.

I don’t look at her high school graduation as the end of something, it’s another beginning.

Not just for her, but for me, too.

My life…

As the children get older, I get to think about me. It’s always been about everybody else. Being a single parent hasn’t been easy. It has had moments too difficult to share here, or even to find words for.

But there have also been triumphs. I’ve gotten to figure out what type of career I want, to meet new people, try new things. I’m starting to see the end of the ‘raising children‘ phase of my life. And in many ways, that’s exciting for me. It means I have the freedom to chase after my dreams.

And children like that. They love to know their parents are happy.

Mine seem happier, when they know I’m busy, that I’ve got things going on.

Sometimes I tease Darling Daughter with this…”Just think, when you come home from college you’ll get to meet the fella who’s going to be your new stepfather…”

As you can imagine, she rolls her eyes!

I guess we can either look backward, or forward. I’ve never been one to wallow in the past. I try my best to enjoy each day, appreciate my past and my memories–and then plunge forward.

I’m not thinking “Where has the time gone?”

I’m thinking, “What a ride!”

Anybody else have a graduating senior? Your thoughts?

What do you want your obituary to say?

Something I never thought about until a few weeks ago, when I started writing obituaries for The News Herald…

Obits come to me every day by phone, fax, email and sometimes people come into the newspaper and I collaborate with them.

In an odd way, it’s an honor to write (or help write) a summary of the story of a person’s life. Their interests, accomplishments, employers and the loving families that they leave behind–or that have predeceased them.

When I started the job, I was nervous about grammar and punctuation. Readers of this blog will understand! I’m not the ‘punctuation princess’ and I often bend the rules of grammar, sentence structure, etc.

familyMy job might just drive my children crazy.

I’m reminded each day that there are no guarantees. I’ve written notices for infants, teenagers…all the way up to nearly 100 year olds. There’s no hiding from it. Anybody can pass away. At any time.

After a rough day last week, I told my children that I needed them to drive carefully. That I loved them too much, for them to be careless. They knew I was serious. They made me promise to be careful, as well.

My mother passed away when I was 20, after a three-year battle with cancer. And my mother lost her mother early as well. My Aunt had lost both of her parents by the time she was 16. Her husband lost his father when he was only a teenager.

Probably, this is why my family ‘gets’ it. We’ve always gotten along. We don’t argue over petty things. If we’re angry or hurt, we address it with each other quickly, then move on. To the important stuff. Being together. Laughing. Having fun.

I was raised by (and around) people who lost parents young, and I lost my mother young. And I think that’s where I learned my values. Values shared by my family.

I always thank people. (Even if I don’t like them!) Those who do me a kindness will be thanked, like it or not!! I always tell my children I love them. Daily. Still. Even though they are teenagers. I don’t want things to go unsaid. Even if my ways seem silly to others, I sleep better at night.

Which brings me back to my original thought.

What would be written about me?

She was ‘nice.’ (little family joke)

She was a terrible driver. Sang so badly, that even at 18 months old, her daughter begged her to stop. She did NOT let her daughter have a pet snake, but she never said no to dogs…and even a cat, though she took Allegra every day so the kids could keep the cat.

‘Things’ happened to her; torn meniscus while gardening, dislocated (and broken) fingers watching a track meet, heels regularly caught in metal stair grating sent her tripping through door to work, tended to spill diet coke on herself while driving her car, never used oven timer and often ‘forgot’ things were cooking…and cooking. Went from always being early, to NEVER being on time.

COULD NOT complete a white picket fence. Appropriate, as my life is not a ‘white picket fence’ kind of life…

fence

What I would like people to say?

That I was kind, compassionate, that I always did my best. That I never forgot my priorities; children, family, friends, dogs. That I enjoyed each day. (Or most of them.)

Did this get you thinking?

What would you want your obituary to say?

What might it say?