Saturday, April 13, 2013

Here We Go Again

(Please review my article on the college search in the Washingtonian. It will set you up for round two.)

The spring break college tour  for Client Number Two did not get off to an auspicious start. When my husband woke him up for our departure he said: “Are you looking forward to seeing some colleges?” and his reply was “No, but I don’t have any choice.”

We headed off to an easy start to spend the night with cousins in New Jersey. A nice visit before our first stop at nearby Drew University where we watched the snowfall during the orientation, followed by the tour through the snow. The client objected to the fact that the guide “wore braces and had a lisp.” His true feelings came out  during lunch with the cousins ,  where  he told them flat out that “I hated everything about it.” “And the students seemed strange.”
The View at Drew

St, Ignatius of Loyola and Himself at Fairfield
About to chest bump or kiss?
The next day we went to the Fairfield University campus which was modern and touts proximity to the beach and is in Connecticut, after all, the Europe of states. We were a large group- and herded into the auditorium. The orientation guy was lively and gave us a test on what the largest Jesuit college in the country is and he said hardly anyone gets it right. Indeed we all flunked, it was Springhill College in Alabama. He mean acreage not student body. But then he said something I thought I would  never hear—“and the good news is we have our first Jesuit Pope…yeeessses”  We have been calling Popeyes Chicken "Pope-Yes" for years but never dreamed of hearing any one use it in conversation. The tour guide was a flop, he was low energy and exhibited hardly any excitement in the school. A shame,  because he should have been able to  sell it. That’s the job, after all. Client deemed it "average."

Off to Saratoga Springs to see our older son who is a sophomore at Skidmore. Now we were in known territory and we left the bros together to take the private tour. The client told anyone who asked which college he had liked best,” Skidmore by far.”
Lovely Schenedectomy

From there to the former brother school of the sister Skidmore, Union College, in decidedly unattractive Schenectady. Union looked nice but by the time we got to the big beautiful Nott Memorial-the client said it smelled like vegetable dip.

The Nott Memorial at Union:"Smells Like Vegetable Dip"

Next to Bard, for the kooky individualist, I  just wanted to see where Steely Dan boys had gone to school and see the original Annandale Road. We were very early and spent an hour eating lunch in the Student Union which faced a dreary prison like block of dormitories. By the time the tour began, we only went on a couple of stops before we decided we had had enough. No curb appeal. Now I understand Steely Dan's line "And I'm never going back to my old school."

From there to Poughkeepsie.  Marist College was the destination and it was beautiful and had a very nice view of the Hudson River  but the client was asleep by this time and showed  no interest, so we just went to our home away from home, the Hampton Inn.  This time we hit the jackpot with a big suite and pay-per-view movies. So we rented Silver Linings Playbook, a light romp about bipolar disease.
Springwood--where FDR grew up, Hyde Park, NY

Drexel--Looks Good, Feels Bad
The next morning we let the client sleep in and did something for ourselves---took a tour of F.D.R.'s Springwood estate in Hyde Park. It was nice to enter an institution that cost $14 instead of $40,000.

We took Marist off the list and then headed for Philadelphia to the inner city business college of Drexel. There was a very main charming building but when we got to the admissions office it was chaos. Everyone was talking at once and seemed to be on Red Bull including our student rep who raced through the charms of Drexel,. When we walked down the stairs, the client said "I’m  stressed.  That guy was talking sooo fast. I can’t imagine myself having any 
sort of social life at all here.”

Villanova--on Holy Grounds, the name of a college coffee ship
On to see dear friends who live in the suburbs of Philliy, which was a comfort visit. We got to dine at the country club and  then sit in their family room and watch the Arizona game in the NCAA playoffs.  Final stop next morning was Villanova where iwe had the place to ourselves thanks to Holy Weekend, with only a parking attendant to give us a self-guided tour map. We liked it because we got into the entirely deserted business school and we got on the famous basketball court in the empty gym. Even the client seemed engaged and interested and wanted to extend the tour. I was the tour guide since I had been there with my older son and the client wanted to know why I wasn’t walking backwards.

The entire trip was a bit like walking backwards, because although the client told  me decidedly that he wanted north and small colleges, he has since changed his mind to south and medium.