We helped Olivia move into her residence hall on campus at Kent State University this morning. She’s going to be living on the second floor of Clark Hall. And she seems to have a great set-up. She’s living on a floor with other students from the Honors College. Her roommate (Jessica) seems to be friendly. Their room gets lovely morning sunlight, filtered through large maple trees. And pretty much everything Olivia needs for her college studies is right at her fingertips. It’s kind of crazy to think that she’s a college girl now…
Then again, it’s really not all that crazy. Olivia has spent nearly eighteen years growing and developing into a strong, independent, young woman. She has a bright future. She’s intelligent and well-organized, with good social skills and a strong work ethic. Consequently, I expect she’s going to excel in the academic elements of college life, but also in the social elements of college life. We’ve got every reason to believe that our College Girl will succeed at Kent State University. And beyond.
Olivia’s brother, Elliot, had a very different experience when he started at Kent State University in August of 2020. He never ended up living in a residence hall on campus, as he went straight from an extra, unexpected year at home to an off-campus apartment with friends. He’s managed all of the challenges well. And he may even benefit (long-term) from some of the mental toughness that was developed through a transition to college in the height of a once-in-a-century pandemic. But still, it’s hard to escape the feeling that we were all robbed of some opportunities and experiences.
So, it felt special to walk around campus with Olivia, after she was (mostly) settled into her room. We walked to the Student Center and bought her one of those small wallets that adheres to the back of her smartphone, so she can have her Flash ID readily available for making her way around campus. We took some obligatory Kent State Student portraits around Risman Plaza. And we took her out to eat for lunch, before leaving her to a diet dominated by Kent State Dining Services cuisine for the next few months. It was just fun to be a “Kent State Dad” (and entrust the work of H2O Kent to my colleagues for today).
Even with all of the positive, hopeful circumstances, we all felt a little bit sad when the time came to say “Good-bye.” It’s going to be different with her living in a different place, her room at our house empty. Still, we’re glad that she gets this opportunity. And we’re excited to see what she’ll do with it.