“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”-Proverbs 3:5-6*
We were on the road by 7:45 am to make the four and half hour trip. Excitement, nervousness, and an unknown reality filled the car. My youngest and I were taking a road trip for his first college campus visit. I was giddy.
My son, Braeden, is a junior in high school and has known exactly what he wants to be when he grows up since the seventh grade. An architect. Oh, I admire his decisiveness in knowing where to head in his future. I did not have the forethought when I was his age. All I knew was everyone else was going to college, so I guess I should too. My primary goal was to meet the man of my dreams, get married, and raise a family. I know, lofty goals, but it was my reality.
Braeden asked me questions about what to expect on a campus visit. I told him to have some questions in mind to ask, listen to what is presented to him, and take in the surroundings of where he could possibly live for the next four years (five years if he follows the path of bachelor/masters in architectural design).
We arrived in Ruston, Louisiana about an hour early before the scheduled tour. We walked into the Admissions hall and were greeted by some friendly students who checked us in. They gave Braeden a welcome bag with all kinds of freebies and told us since we had some time, to walk over to the student center and have some lunch. So, began our journey.
I have always described Braeden as an old soul. In so many ways he thinks like an adult, can self-entertain, and looks forward to the goals he has set for himself. We started walking on the campus and he seemed so natural in the setting. I could visualize him as a student on this campus. It was exciting, terrifying, and weepy all in one big breath. I knew he was ALMOST ready for the next step in life.
We ate lunch and walked around before heading back for our tour. Our guide was awesome and took us around the campus pointing out various places where classes were held, reciting the traditions on this campus, and sharing his experiences as a student at the university. I could see Braeden was interested but not sure what he should ask. I was the one who kept a conversation going with the guide as no one else was speaking up!
Taking the tour flooded me with memories as a freshman at college. I was clueless as to what to expect when I arrived my first fall semester; not visiting the campus prior to showing up to move in. I do remember the freedom to come and go as I please, becoming disciplined in achieving good grades without being told and meeting my future husband, Braeden’s dad. Walking around this particular campus brought back the sweet memories of being young and carefree.
After the campus tour, we had a presentation of the different living choices and met with the admissions personnel. The last part of the day was for Braeden to meet with a representative from the architectural program and ask questions relative to the curriculum. We met with the assistant professor of the program and initially I was not impressed. He was shy and mumbled to himself as we did introductions. He handed us some paperwork which explained the bachelor’s and master’s program and asked us to follow him. He took us in a gallery and he stated this was the best way to visually see what Braeden could expect of the program. As we walked into the gallery, the professor’s demeanor changed and he became quite animated as he showed us projects, designs, plans, budgets, and proposals for each year of the program. I turned to Braeden and his face had changed as well. For over half an hour, the two of them engaged in questions, answers, explanations, and experiences. At one point I could see how much they had in common. Braeden was in his element, he knew it, and I witnessed it.
What a definitive moment.
After leaving the college and heading back home, Braeden and I reminisced about the day as he made a list of positive and negatives about the experience (there were multiple positives and only one negative). It was in this moment I knew Braeden would be ready for the transition from high school to college, from teenager to manhood, and from dependence to responsibility. This was such a grown-up moment for him and me, and I loved every minute of it. No regrets, but excitement for his future.
This school set a high bar for a great campus visit, and we will be attending a few more before he graduates. It comforts my heart to know he is pursuing his passion and learning what it will take to achieve his goals. This mama is going to enjoy the journey of my youngest child who will in a couple of years make us officially empty nesters. Who would have thought a simple road trip would result in a beautiful blessing for the two of us?
*The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society