Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Another Visit to Roanoke College
Visitors to the Roanoke Valley, and in particular, those who came to Roanoke College on Monday, got to experience the beauty that is Southwest Virginia this time of the year. Yesterday, the first students who were semi-finalists for Roanoke College's Scholarship descended upon Salem to compete for the coveted awards. Yes, my daughter was one of them and we didn't have to travel as far as some of the folks I met had to.
I spoke with parents of students from Colorado, Connecticut and Maryland. Their kids, like my daughter, have had their mailboxes inundated with offers from across the country trying to entice them to attend their college. I literally have a Rubbermaid tub filled with brochures, papers and award letters. Marie could go to quite a few well-known universities, including NYU, free of charge. But she is smitten with Roanoke College.
She told me that many of the potential students she met, who lived out of state, wanted to go to Roanoke College, just so they could be far away from home. When they heard she lived only a couple of miles away, they thought she was "crazy" that she wanted to stay so close to home. I'm thrilled that she wants to stay "so close to home" even if she really wants to live on campus. She'll have plenty of time after she graduates to wind up in some far-away city. Of course, I hope she finds a good-paying job and chooses to remain right here in the Valley after she does graduate.
Anyway, yesterday's competition entailed writing an essay on the spot, listening to currently enrolled students, and then having a one-on-one interview with a professor. She was a little nervous, but thrilled when the professor she was interviewing with invited her to sit on his history class where they would be discussing the Holocaust. She is a history buff, and begged me to let her go. Even though Monday's are the day I take my chemo pills, and I was barely able to keep my head up, I would never deny her that opportunity, so naturally I encouraged her to sit in. I stayed at the library while she tasted her first college class.
When I saw her descending the stairs from the grand old building, folders in hand, the wind whipping her hair gently, I have to tell you I teared up. It looked like she belonged there. When she saw me waiting in the car, a huge smile spread across her face. She excitedly told me about the class and how interesting the professor was. "I'm definitely signing up for that class!" I hated to remind her, "if you go here."
Look, every time we go back to Roanoke College we love it more and more, and I don't want to burst her bubble, but I'm just being a realist. There are only 3 spots open for a full scholarship. Hundreds are applying. And although I truly believe she does deserve it, not only because of her academic performance, but for all she's had to deal with and overcome in her life, all the while never complaining and keeping a pure heart, things like a free scholarship just don't happen in our lives. We always have to work doubly hard for everything.
When I asked her if the interviewer saw all the scars on her legs from her operations, or if she mentioned that she would be the first female in her family to attend college, she rolled her eyes at me. "No, Mom, I can do this without playing the pity card. I'm pulling a 4.3 right now, did good on the SAT and pulled 4 & 5's on the AP exams. That's got to count for something!"
We'll see. I'm already proud of her for getting this far. Like I told her, if it's meant to be, it'll be...