Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Selection Month, Part 2

His name is Lloyd Dobler.

Who's Lloyd, you may ask?

He's just an 80's iconic figure from the movie Say Anything.

He's your quintessential existential romantic; an 18 year old who yearns for authenticity, and lives for the moment.

Ask Lloyd about his "future plans", specifically about college, and Lloyd says what all of us at one point have wanted to say.

Kickboxing. The sport of the future. You got to love Lloyd's honesty about his chances at "greatness."

But in all seriousness, we are all often like Lloyd in that we're far more comfortable telling people what we're against as opposed to what we are for.

Teens do this every day, right? They are against excessive homework, curfews, limits on Facebook, text messaging, and what they can wear.

The same is true when thinking about college.

There are the anti-Ugg boot'ers. These are girls primarily who are not opposed to wearing Uggs for style, but adamantly opposed for wearing them to stay warm. These are the girls that exclaim "Ugh!" anytime you mention parts of the country that involve snow.

There are also the BBB'ers. These are the fellas primarily (and girls) who are not interested in any schools that are not "Big Bowl Bound". If the college isn't competing in a big time, D-1 football conference, to be blunt, and isn't winning enough games to go to Tempe or Miami for the BCS championship, then forget about it.

Then there are the hobbits. These are your students who are not interested in any colleges that don't border the state of Oklahoma. For these students, "the Shire" includes Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas. Flying is simply not an option. (ps. I love hobbits. They are my favorite Middle Earth creatures.)

And finally there are the SAT'ers. These are the students who will not consider a college that has an average SAT score below 1500.

Parents aren't any different, I've learned. They are Lloyd Dobler's in their own way.

There are those parents that will not consider any colleges whose team colors are burn orange or bright orange for that matter.

There are those parents who will not consider any colleges that Southwest Airline doesn't fly into.

And there are those parents who will not consider any colleges where the car decal sticker won't invoke oohs and aahs from onlookers in the neighborhood.

The truth is that all of these "anti's" are actually roundabout ways of identifying the college criteria that is important for students and parents.

It's okay then to begin with what you are against.

Eventually you will break through into what you are looking for.

I want a warm, Southern, rah-rah, Super Greek school.

I want an open curriculum where I can dabble, explore, and create my own kind of academic fusion.

I want to be able to jump on I-35 or I-40 and get home in time for dinner and mom to begin a load of laundry.

I want to study in Paris, work a paid internship, and write a thesis with a professor.

I want to play college athletics, but not at a school where sports will consume my life, but compliment my college experience.

I want to bleed crimson and cream - period.

I want to wear purple and learn how to make a horn frog sign with my fingers.

I want to know my professors, learn in small classes with a Socratic pedagogy.

I want to live in a big city with skyscrapers, long lines of yellow taxi cabs, and steam rising like mist above the crowded streets.

In closing, one question I find that helps students really clarify what they want to get our of their experience is this one:

When you walk across and receive your diploma, what do you hope to have experienced and accomplished?

Perhaps this is as good as any place to jump in over Chinese food or mom's famous lasagna.