• The Ritual of Moving Out of the Dorm — With No Long Speeches

    June 6, 2015

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Uncategorized


    This time of year everybody talks about the ritual of college graduation. But no one seems to focus on the other college right of passage that’s unfolding now, the move out of the dorm and back home for the summer.

    Perhaps the dorm thing gets less attention because it happens more than once; three or four times (we hope not too many more times) for most traditional students. But humping boxes and suitcases out of my daughter’s dormitory like I’m a roadie for KISS had as much to say about college, life, and parenting as any commencement. And without the long speeches.

    Making sense out of moving-out of the dorm only makes sense in the context of moving-in to the dorm. That far back in history, everything was folded neatly, socks were in pairs and kitchen supplies still smelled of Walmart. Roommates were all friends-for-life to be, full of fun comments about how much the same/how different everyone looked from the Facebook profiles that had been stalked mercilessly all summer. Empty notebooks, clean dorm rooms, all that hope and promise ahead stuff.

    We parents moved-in heavy things, and exchanged friendly chat about how all that could fit into a dorm room, about how we were all sure the girls would become friends-for-life, and said “Oh, this is nice” in a tone of voice we hoped sounded credible in reference to the bathroom. With our kids, quiet words about some silly thing from their childhood we just recalled were exchanged even as they turned to ignore us after some kid stuck his head in to announce a crucial floor meeting, and a tear or two (ours exclusively) marked our being shushed out the door. There seemed to have been so much to talk about on the way up here. It was a long trip home with my spouse to have suddenly not a word to say.

    And now nine months later we were back.

    If any packing had preceded our arrival, it consisted of tangled clothes, some still damp from the gym, stuffed into suitcases. New things – clothes we hadn’t bought her ourselves, including a very adult black dress – made an appearance. A fresh coat of grime had been applied to the tub. What one hoped was part of that hard-won A- in Advanced Biology we’d heard about was left in the refrigerator. No, we didn’t need to take the Tupperware home, thanks.

    The friends-for-life roommates had turned out to be people, with all the good things and bad things people bring along into dorm rooms. Some goodbyes seemed to mean more than others. We parents watched awkwardly; we had heard it all, or at least a very, very one-sided version of it all, from our kids. Parental eyes did not meet. The tales I heard about so-and-so and her acrobatic boyfriend might have had twin sister versions that involved my own kid. It was better to simply ask the other dads about traffic on the way up, until –

    Damn, I just saw her not too long ago for a visit, and we had two weeks together at Christmas, but what happened to my daughter? The kid who needed to be pushed and shoved a year or so ago to finish a university admissions essay that tragically failed to tie together the symbolism of the river in Mark Twain and some boring summer job now wants to talk about the Cold War mistakes of the Truman administration (cool) and 19th century French poetry (I just nod.)

    We’ll all be together for the summer, but only the parental side of the equation can see the clock running. There used to be a lot more summers. Now there are just a couple more dorm move-ins and move-outs to watch as time runs away. One of those moves will mark commencement, and that’ll be an emotional day of its own. But everybody knows commencement is a big deal. My worry is it is too easy to miss the three years of early warnings signs that precede it.




    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin
  • Recent Comments

    • John Poole said...

      1

      Are others getting the audio from the arms for the Middle East video posted by Peter when they log in? I contacted him and it seemed to clear up but now I’m still getting it. I’m hoping it is on this end not on his server. Thanks.

      06/6/15 1:05 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      2

      Sorry, John. I access the site through the same server, and just tried it on my phone. No audio problems.

      06/6/15 1:22 PM | Comment Link

    • jo6pac said...

      3

      John Poole said

      Yep me to and have been for sometime. I’m running ms7 ie10 with security to block that stuff so it’s in the site I do believe.

      Then on to the dorm room if we knew what we do now we would have just stayed forever;) Reality Sucks.

      06/6/15 4:56 PM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...

      4

      I still prefer to envision the triumph of the power of a Million NEW IDEAS
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWODczdgGDQ
      and the reality of having at least attempted one of them, to stifle “Paving Paradise” (Craig Pittman).

      06/6/15 6:37 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      5

      Congrats to your daughter, finishing well in her courses

      “We’ll all be together for the summer, but only the parental side of the equation can see the clock running. There used to be a lot more summers. Now there are just a couple more dorm move-ins and move-outs to watch as time runs away.”

      It does go fast, but it’s good to have the hindsight to enjoy it. The first time around, a person doesnt realize, but later your daughter will have good memories of this

      “Then on to the dorm room if we knew what we do now we would have just stayed forever;) Reality Sucks.” Jo6pac

      Well, that was a really small room lol. More like a cell. Think the hardest part about gravitating from university life to the working world, especially in the government — the university you are compelled to critically think and freely express ideas; you get to the professional world, especially the government and those core values are just stifled and actively discouraged. Our professional worlds should be compelled to live up to better standards

      06/7/15 12:59 AM | Comment Link

    • jo6pac said...

      6

      #5

      It isn’t any different in corp. world, they say speak up but when you do you’re labeled a trouble maker.

      06/7/15 9:27 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      7

      One of those moves will mark commencement, and that’ll be an emotional day of its own. But everybody knows commencement is a big deal. My worry is it is too easy to miss the three years of early warnings signs that precede it.”unquote

      Yeah, well wait till you lead her up the aisle to get married. 🙂 Or twice. 🙁 Like I did. You think the years pass too quick while she’s in College? Ha! One second your 40..and the next your 70. Enjoy her while you can. :). Btw, I haven’t seen my daughter in 10 yrs. Life can separate loved ones for a long time, regardless how much you want to see them. At least you get to see her during holidays and the summer. Enjoy her company while you can. 🙂

      06/7/15 4:38 PM | Comment Link

    Leave A Comment

    Mail (will not be published) (required)

IP Blocking Protection is enabled by IP Address Blocker from LionScripts.com.