Remember my advice to students and parents pre-orientation and my passing mention that students don't thank their parents enough? I've been feeling introspective (as well as a bit distant as a result of way too many missed phone calls and opportunities to talk to my family) so I composed this open letter of realizations and thanks to my family.
Imma and Abba and Ben,
You were right. Sometimes you were wrong, but for the most part you were right. You pushed me to do things I didn't want to do, encouraged me when I struggled with the decisions I made that probably weren't the best, stuck with me through week-long snail mail and my delirious 2am phone calls (even though it was 8pm for you guys). Sometimes time differences work in your favor.
I love college. In fact, I don't want to leave and I am battling with that every day. I just don't know if I'm in love with education anymore, which brings me to my next point. Yes, I will probably be a teacher one day. I have graciously accepted that I will follow in the footsteps of various family members to the blackboards of the future and am actually looking forward to it. I know that I'm not going to do it just yet, because I think my youthful energy should be focused on something big and exciting first. I don't know what that is yet, though. Not grad school or a teaching program yet, but maybe it'll involve education.
I am also so happy that in my pursuit of a more artsy direction, you guys have never told me that it's impossible or silly, and started to understand what kind of life I want to make for myself. I started doing much of what I love because I wanted to be more a part of my family and from there, it has kind of spiraled out of control. You guys are always an inspirational starting point.
Maybe it's from being in college for four years so far, but I feel confident that I can do things for myself as well as for others in the big world. I was never forced to be self-sufficient, but it was encouraged. The arrangement that we agreed upon for me to decide and pay for my own room and board as my contribution to my college experience has served me better than I have ever hoped. Thank you for the financial support for the academic education part, too. That part will continue to serve me well additionally.
I am also really really really glad that Ben is visiting me. You guys both know that Oberlin was a great fit for me, and Ben is only learning to appreciate that. He's changed so much and I'm so jealous that you guys got to spend the last four years with him. I'm going to see if I can make up for that during the four days he's visiting in March. Benboy, you're going to fall in love with this place. I hope it's enough of a head-over-heels in these four days that you want to come here and perpetuate the Plaut in Oberlin. (He's a great kid, Oberlin. You'll meet him in two weeks!)
I can't wait to see you guys during (the most stressful but relaxing week of my life also known as) commencement. I only wish you guys could have been more physically present for more of my college career. It has been and will continue to be wonderful. Thank you.
Sorry if this was super boring and super depressingly senior of me. College is an ongoing awareness exercise, and senior year is no exception. My experiences here are as much influenced by my far-away family as they are by my present Oberlin family.