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The Balancing Act
My Daughter Kennedi Preps for Her First Year at BSU
O ne of my biggest goals as a father of three is to put my kids through school someday without them exiting the process hopelessly in debt. But for my 18-year-old daughter, Kennedi, that “someday” is coming up fast. For the past few months, I’ve been helping her navigate the complicated world of college admissions. Let me tell you, we’ve had to have some tough conversations along the way. I’m deeply proud of the drive and ambition each of my kids possess — two traits Kennedi has in spades. She’s a young woman with grand aspirations, which I admire and respect. But when she was first considering the colleges she wanted to attend, there came a time when “Proud-Dad Randy” had to sit back and let “Business Randy” make an appearance. I’m eager to do everything I can to help her succeed in whatever she wants to do in life, but when we started to look at $50,000 a year for tuition at some of these massive out- of-state universities, the costs became difficult to justify because Kennedi wasn’t sure which career she wanted to pursue. In that situation, going to a state university until you decide on a long-term plan seems more financially responsible. Ultimately, Kennedi decided she wanted to look into teaching. Then we had to have a conversation about spending $200,000–$250,000 on her education for a job that would pay $36,000 a year. As any parent whose child is approaching college knows, it’s a delicate balancing act between which degree they are seeking and the amount you are going to pay for college. I couldn’t overcome the “business” side of the decision and justify spending that kind of money for her degree, especially when state schools like BSU, ISU, and UI are all excellent, reputable colleges for the career she wants.
After a number of fraught and often heated conversations, Kennedi eventually settled on attending Boise State University. At first, I could tell she was bitterly disappointed. We did agree that having a college “experience” is important, so we settled on her moving into the dorms instead of living at home. But I think after she began realizing just how different it’ll be from home at the dorms in downtown Boise, she’s begun to come around. I’m confident that, just like me, when she starts at BSU and realizes just how different the college world is from anything she’s experienced, it’ll be an incredibly valuable and thrilling time for her. It’s a bittersweet feeling that one of our kids will be leaving the nest to join the wide world in just a few months’ time. On the one hand, my wife and I are excited to witness what she’ll accomplish and happy to see her applying herself to this brand-new, life-changing pursuit. On the other hand, she will be our oldest and first child to leave the house — a reality that I don’t think has truly begun to sink in. Though, as we grow closer and closer to the day she leaves, she is starting to push back against the “extremely oppressive regime” my wife and I maintain at home. “I won’t have to do ____ come August!” she’s become fond of saying. But honestly, that really is one of the best parts of college. You get to carve your own path on your own terms and start down the direction toward becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be. It’ll be weird to see her off at the dorms for the first time, but I know she’ll do great. I’m excited to see what new and fantastic things she sets out to accomplish.
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