Sunday, September 16, 2007

One Flew Out Of The Cuckoo Nest!

Offspring No. 1 is now in Chicago. She has officially begun her college career. U Chicago has it together in terms of making the incoming first year's feel comfortable. From the moment she was accepted to the university, they have done all in their power to make these kids feel like they are part of a community. It was no different when we arrived on campus Saturday morning. The day began with the students getting their schedules for orientation week. The week is divided between taking placement tests and getting to know the campus and the city of Chicago. In addition to calculus tests and physical fitness tests, they also have the opportunity to partake in a coffee shop crawl, service projects in the city, movies with their class and the other members of their house, and a trip to Target for those items that did not make it into the suitcases.

After receiving a schedule, the next thing on the agenda was to get a UChicago ID. This was done in the library. Smart move on the university's part - teach them where the library is early in the process! In the quad outside the library was a gathering of student organizations and technology information. I was amazed at the level of organization evidenced by it all. I was also pleased to learn that the university has in place a program called UCalert. This is a program that requires all students to register an email and a cell phone number capable of receiving text messages in the event that there is an incident such as that which happened at Virginia Tech last spring.

Here are the girls as we entered the quad. In several insatnces, people were not sure which one of them was the enrolling student.

Next we helped Brooke unpack her stuff in her dorm room. She has a single room - good for her her and better for the person who might have been unfortunate enough to be her roommate! Every room in her house is a single room. She is lucky to be right around the corner from an awesome community kitchen. I was not worried about her missing any of us, but the kitchen is a whole different story! The four ovens, four sinks, and personal kitchen lockers for all who want them is a great feature of this particular residence hall. SHe won't miss home at all.

Brooke took a few of the comforts of home - her Care Bears, some posters, a Justice League jigsaw puzzle, enough tea to prepare high tea for the masses every afternoon throughout the year, and her Batman blanket.

What more could a girl want?

"This place is pretty cool, especially if they keep giving me toys!"
She got a free yo-yo at the earlier activities.

The process of leaving the kids is quite an ordeal. At 3 pm there was a Convocation for the class of 2011 that lasted about an hour. At its conclusion, the students and their families formed a procession led by bagpipes. The procession worked its way from Rockefeller Chapel to this gate.
If you notice the small print on the sign, at this point the students continue through the gate where they are met by other students from their respective houses. Once all the students have said their good-byes, the entire class makes their way to the football stadium for a class picture. The families took a right turn and headed for a wonderful reception complete with a large amount of food, beer and wine - a little something to ease the pain.
Before we left Brooke, her sister bullied her into promising to stay in touch. Brooke is not the best at communication
She promised to give us a call every now and then. I hope for the price of tuition that they will teach her how to use a phone!
All of the day's activities were staffed exclusively by students and they all took their jobs seriously. This guy may have had the most important job of all - making Kleenex available as parents and kids went their separate ways.
Even though I was leaving Brooke in Chicago and won't see her until Thanksgiving, it was a nice day. It is obvious from her demeanor that she feels comfortable there; that is no simple thing. I trust that she will have an amazing experience while at UC.
Though Brooke has not actually picked up the phone and called, she did text message Erin after having been away from us only an hour and a half to say that she had met a friend. That too is no small feat. At 10:30 last night she was helping her new friend, a drag queen (his description) decorate his dorm room. That's my girl!