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Here we go...

What a case of bad timing. The younger boy's school, which also happens to be his daycare, closes the week before school starts.

So right when I have deadlines at work, a chapter to finish, and background material on dissertation stuff to read, I am home full-time with the world's most hyper six-year-old. After listening to him talk for an hour solid, my poor brain has gone into shut down, and I'm falling into the mindless nodding and agreeing one does when it's obvious that nothing can stop the verbal onslaught.

I think if I took the Myers-Briggs test, my I would jump to about 99%. :-P

I love my children, but how in the world can they talk that much? Older boy was the same way at this age. All he ever talked about was Lego Bionicles. How long can someone go on about them? In his case, about 3 years solid.

But the older boy, who is no longer such a talk box, came back today. It was nice to have some almost grown-up conversation and someone with whom to share those "What the heck is he talking about?!" stares.

Unfortunately, I had to turn about to the older boy and talk incessantly for a while. After dinner, we went through the eighty million forms that the school sent home for us to go through. He did say that he might be willing to try the computer applications class or another class. We'll see if one of them sits next to his German class. Then we went through what we're doing at home. He seems reasonably enthusiastic about the idea of CLEPing a bunch of his courses. We discussed that doing this would either be a good foundation for going to a big name school or help him get done with classes if he went to a state school.

He admitted he'd been thinking a bit about college and said he'd probably rather go to a state school either here or an adjacent state.

Can I just admit that I breathed a huge sigh of relief when he said that? I realize that's not the final word, but I have had terrible anxiety about what might happen if he decided he wanted to go to a high-powered school and discovered what a pressure cooker it can be. I really don't think he needs to go through that.

Yeah: I'm so stupid that if my kid got accepted to Harvard or some place similar, I would tell him not to go because it really isn't worth it. I think he'd meet a lot of cool people there, but I also think he'd run into a lot of things that suck for no good reason. Maybe I'm wrong, but then again, I'd also tell him that there's a good chance I'd be wrong and he should go where ever it is he really wants to go. Really, it's up to him. But I let him know that if he wants to go there, he's going to have to start working for it now.

Back on track, my goal is to have him take English Comp, US History I and II, and Chemistry by the end of the year. I'm going to set him up to do math using the program they used at his old school. And then he'll have a course or two and possibly lunch at the high school. :-)

I am a bit amused because Dean Dad wrote a post talking about whether faculty from other departments should be able to teach certain courses in related fields. I have been giggling wondering if I'm going to be okay teaching a series of varied freshman level courses to my own kid...and if he does well, maybe I could go pro. Not really, but this is the best solution I can come up with to make sure that the older boy is getting a good education and that I have indisputable proof of such.

So tomorrow he starts high school...

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( 4 Transmissions — Comment )
Aug. 25th, 2010 03:08 pm (UTC)
I'd discussed the importance of choosing the right college with my officemate on numerous occasions. While we both got PhDs from top programs in the country, I went to undergrad at an elite private institution, while she went to a large public university known for being a party school. We both got good undergraduate educations, but my friend had to be self-motivated to achieve it, and she has few friends from her time there. On the other hand, I thrived in the pressure-cooker environment and have tons of friends from undergrad, and I'm still close with many of them. There is something to be said about establishing that kind of a network.

I know plenty of successful people in my field who started out at public universities, so I understand your feeling that Harvard is not really worth it. I could also tell you about my own personal feelings about Harvard, especially compared to my own alma mater, but I don't want to hijack your post either, so I'll just end here.

Aug. 26th, 2010 01:38 am (UTC)
I guess I should've been more specific: a place like Harvard is not right for him. He doesn't have the drive to go to a pressure-cooker. He's more of a dreamer than a doer. There are also, in my experience, some significant cultural differences in places like that compared to where we live. Those two things put together make me think that he really shouldn't go someplace like that. However, there are other relatives who may think that just because he's got an obnoxiously high IQ that it's necessary for him to go someplace like that. I don't want them pressuring him into things he doesn't want to do.

There are definite benefits to someplace like that. I think that if my younger one has the personality I think he will, he may very well benefit from a place like that. But that's a long way off.

I do think that a couple of my closest friends were people I met at Caltech. However, the overall environment was definitely not positive for me...or actually, just about everyone I kept in touch with. I had quite a few friends say that if they had it to do again, they would've gone someplace else. I think, however, that I have made the most friends in grad school.

I love to hear stories, so if you ever care to elaborate, I'd be interested. I think it's helpful to know how varied experiences can be in various places.
Aug. 25th, 2010 08:01 pm (UTC)
Ended up in a state university myself. Basically I talked to a number of people working at jobs I was interested in (hands on design - Mechanical Engineering) and asked where they went to school. The majority had gone to California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA, so that became my choice. I'm sure for the same types of jobs in other regions there would be a different answer.

It's just one leg on the stool you stand on to get noticed however. I tried to network very early on and had jobs as a draftsman, entry-level machinist, and electro-mechanical tech before leaving school for my first engineering bit. Even after all that I didn't interview very well so it did take most of a year to track down work. My more recent layoff I had a couple of months coaching on the resume, interview, and wage negotiations and that helped quite a bit.

So, if the school is respectable in the chosen field, the other two parts are getting practical work experience, and the interpersonal skills related to networking, interviews, and negotiating.

As for the rest, well, to try to enjoy the good bits of maturing and high-school and not take any disappointments too seriously. Good Luck (that always comes in handy).
Aug. 26th, 2010 01:43 am (UTC)
There is a lot to be said for how much school name can open doors. I have had several occasions where I was being blown off because I was from NDSU...so I would 'name drop' and mention I'd started at Caltech. It actually makes me mad how many people do a 180 when they hear that. On the other hand, I'm also certain that it's opened a couple doors for me. I try not to bring it up unless I'm feeling a lot of negativity, though.

But realistically, at some point, you're right...school fades into the background and people care more about what has gone on since then and the further you have developed your other skills, the better off you'll be.
( 4 Transmissions — Comment )

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