Dorothy Harris

Overwhelmed at the moment

We are feeling a wee bit overwhelmed at Harris & Co. Visiting college campuses has been exciting and eye-opening, but also brought front and center the fact that some really big decisions are rapidly speeding our way. The train of choices is the reason for our deer-in-the-headlights look and the teen flatly admits feeling overwhelmed.

It’s not just that she needs to choose a college, but having to decide how and when to go. Stay local and work speedily along to complete her AA as soon as possible before transferring? Take summers off and do a full two years here before embarking on another six at university? The cost savings is a major plus, but what if she is accepted to one of the larger universities right off the bat? What if both of her top choices offer acceptance?

Considering her career path, selections are limited, which feels like a blessing at this point. I simply can’t imagine those with kids who are pursuing a more widely available major and have even more choices to navigate. Two years here, four years there, or whichever just about anywhere, would make me feel like a kid in Wonka’s candy factory. How do you take it all in without feeling sick?

We keep reminding her (and us) we just need to start putting things down on paper. For this writer, having things in text before me makes them absorbable. With so many choices and options with those choices, it reminds me why I don’t ever want to build a house. How can you know what you really want?

For this reason we started visiting campuses. We needed to know what to expect and give her an opportunity to experience the universities. Thus far, the choices make me feel like a night owl, keeping watch over the wee hours as options run through my brain like tiny prey. Some days I feel as though I’m buried deep in the swamp, listening to gators bellowing. The Spartan warrior laughs at my stress as a bright orange panther stalks my thoughts, reminding me my baby’s going to fly away sooner or later regardless of the current direction of her path.

We have planned this for nearly two decades and the campus visits have clarified where all this has been leading. Mr. Harris sees firsthand the lovely locations where all our dollars will be flowing. College is expensive.

Let me say this again, because maybe you haven’t realized this yet. College is costly and requires more money than one realizes. You may go broke ensuring your children are on a path to employability. I met a parent whose child already had $80,000 dollars in student loan debt and was now entering another four year doctorate program. I almost choked considering the size of this burden. How many decades will it take to pay off the schooling?

For this reason, we plan and pray, hoping to find the right balance between expense and frugality. Various options for the future stretch two, four, six or eight years before us. It’s a lot to take in and plan for, especially when we thought we had already planned well in the first place.

That this overwhelming amount of information flowing must be deftly managed within the next six months or so is a bit mind-boggling even with generous doses of caffeinated beverages. College is an incredible blessing and looks to be a fabulous opportunity. Deciding on the path to get there is going to take a lot of effort, courage and prayer.