by Jennifer Tolle Whiteside
My daughter is a rising senior. Honestly, I can’t believe it. Time moves so quickly. Seriously, I feel like I was just dropping her off at kindergarten a year ago with her first backpack and nap mat. And clearly, I need to get busy and finish her baby book … (can’t you just feel the “mom guilt” in that sentence??)
We have spent the last many months visiting colleges and incessantly talking about college, SAT tests and pretty much annoying the crud out of her. She claims the only question anyone asks her is where are you going to college? I have told her not to worry, soon we will move on to “What are you going to do with that degree? And then “When are you getting married, and soon to follow when will you be having children?” All of this line of questioning is usually at its core merely innocent interest and just an effort to engage in conversation -- but perfectly annoying to the confused and pondering.
There is incredible pressure put on today’s high school students, and junior and senior years are the pinnacle for sure. How many colleges have you been visiting? What is your GPA? How did you do on the SAT? How many AP classes are you taking, what clubs are you leading? Sports? Volunteer work? It is truly breathtaking these expectations. How lucky she is to have involved parents -- well actually a pretty involved extended family. I know many children are not so lucky to have this level of support and resources. I know that. I worry about that.
I read our scholarship applications and I meet resilient, strong, smart, motivated passionate kids who are applying for college, many with involved and supportive families, and some who are pretty much doing this alone. What I do know is that a scholarship is a lifeline for many. Often the ability to go or not attend college can be determined by this. I am so proud of the work we do with our scholarship program across the state. Meeting our scholarship recipients is one of the best things about my job.
We believe we offer hope through scholarships. What I know is that our recipients actually provide us with hope -- hope for our future -- hope for change -- and hope for our communities.
Talk about expectations!