This week we welcome Regional Director of Admission for the Mid Atlantic, Kathleen Voss, to the blog. Welcome, Kathleen!
Do you remember the episode of Modern Family when Phil and Claire drop Haley off at college? They are OVER the top all day, even wearing “Haley Dunphy Moving Company” t-shirts. Haley is mortified and begs her dad to take off the t-shirt lest they be judged by all the other kids and their families moving into the residence hall. Other embarrassing antics happen throughout the episode, and as Phil and Claire sit in silence on their drive home, Haley calls and tells them she loves them and thanks them. The audience sees she is wearing her “Haley Dunphy Moving Company” t-shirt. Not a dry eye in the house.
As you may recall, my daughter starts college this fall. This past weekend her dad, sister, and I traveled 3.5 hours south to her new home. I should have known when my husband and youngest daughter started getting carsick as we bobbed and weaved over the country and mountain roads that a Century City-produced college drop-off was NOT in the cards for us.
One Last Hoorah
As an attempt to bring us all together for one last hurrah before the big day (think Oliver Stone assembling the cast to experience basic training before he started shooting Platoon). I organized a family trip to a lovely, local hotel near the university. It had been the site of a famous movie, starring an 80’s heartthrob, the perfect preamble to our College Drop-Off Spectacular!
Unfortunately, while a beautiful spot, the first raindrop fell as we unpacked the car, and the torrents began soon after. The scenes of family hikes to waterfalls and loving, heartfelt conversations sitting poolside would have to be reshot. EASY! We would just move the location into the hotel room.
While well appointed, the room was small and since my husband had forgotten his CPAP machine at home (queue sound effects), none of us had gotten much sleep the night before (nor did we the entire time). Tensions on the set were running high and the constant questions I peppered my college-bound daughter with (“Did you get your room pin?” “Do you know where we need to park?” “How long do we have to actually move in?” “Do they have carts or dollies?”) were soon met with an 18-year old’s wrath, which includes rolling eyes and deep exasperated breaths that started in her toes and rumbled through her rib cage … Stanislavski would be proud!
The supporting cast was just as motivated! Not to be outperformed, the 13-year-old commentary, (“GAAAAWDDD Mom! Can’t you talk about something else?” “I’m BORED” “The Wi-Fi sucks here” and “Can we get ice cream?” for the 200th time) was just as impactful. My script writer really deserves a raise.
At last, the time came for move-in. The costumes were chosen with care (seriously, my husband chose a “move in” costume. “It must be lightweight, breathable, easy to get around in. Maybe coveralls? I should also wear closed-toe shoes… did I bring my Carhartts?”). We made our way into the crowd of fellow thespians to the 10th floor of a tower that was built the year I was born. And believe me, no hair and make-up team were going to make IT or I, look any younger.
We got to the door and waited and waited some more. Someone, who prefers to remain nameless, never got their pin (I know, I can’t believe it either). So, a trip down the elevator, a visit to the RA desk and back up we went. As we entered the prop closet… I mean dorm room; the REAL fun began. It immediately became a race to the Academy Awards, each actor outdoing the next in testing exactly how HIGH emotions could get. Crying? Check. Swearing? Check. Check. Shouting? Check. Luckily, the four fans that my husband had set up across the room “to maximize airflow” DID help drain out the volume of our dialogue. At least we hope it did.
Time to Say “So Long”
After three hours of lofting and un-lofting beds, moving bookcases and desks, dusting, unpacking far too many clothes, storing luggage, and cutting open vacuum-packed rugs and mattress pads (a must by the way) we had successfully dressed the set. And it was time to say goodbye.
The Director had envisioned this final scene in her mind in the weeks leading up to our departure. I would hold it together, share a sage word or two of final wisdom, pull out a starched, lace handkerchief (or Kleenex, probably easier) to dab at that tear on my cheek, hug the main character close, wish her well, offer a loving goodbye and then drive off down the tree-lined, college lane.
The Kleenex part will probably make it into the final episode, but the ugly crying, weeping, sobbing, and seemingly never-ending nose blowing that followed, will be left on the cutting room floor. I pulled it together about an hour from our house.
I was thinking about that Modern Family episode. Phil had left Haley a book with advice and “dad-isms.” My favorite was, “never be afraid to reach for the stars, because even if you fall, you’ll always be wearing your parent chute.” There was nothing left for me to do. My sweet, energetic, athletic, bright Star was ready to shine. On her own. I had seen the excitement in her eyes as we walked the campus and again as we said goodbye. I had felt the independence, like the pull of the sun, as she directed her dad where to put the unlofted/lofted/unlofted bed and suggested a spot for us to eat lunch.
And while I may not be ready, she is. And the stage is hers.
Kathleen Voss has worked in college admission for over 25 years. She joined the Georgia Tech Office of Undergraduate Admission in 2013 as the Institute’s first Regional Director of Admission. Prior to Tech, Kathleen worked regionally for Manhattan College and as the Associate Director of Admission for Regis College in Massachusetts. She is a member of PCACAC and serves on the Admission Practices Committee. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters and volunteering in her community.