Half In, Half Out

The other day I got an email from a parent. She said her daughter asked her to pick her up and take her home.

It was only the 2nd week of school. By my accounting, she had been at school less than 9 days.

One of my first thoughts in this situation was, “Mama, don’t pick her up. Let her stay here for a bit.” I sometimes have to remind parents of this – that there is an essential bit of angst that needs to happen in order to get that kid to move past the blocks and make this foggy place home.

I sent an email, made a phone call. If she wanted to stay, she would let me know and hopefully try to work it out. If she was already out the door, she wouldn’t call me back. She didn’t. I ran it by my colleagues in the pod – what do you guys think? Each one of them shook their head – stick it out, they said. It’s going to be alright. Everywhere I went, every one said the same thing – don’t leave – give it a semester at least. One year, even. I nodded, agreeing with them, but I already knew the answer.

Fast forward to a day or two later, and I had the opportunity to sit down with her and talk. She was nice enough, the sort of student I would have easily clicked with. I recognized in her what a lot of students experience – that fear of missing something at home and that fear of being stuck in a place they barely knew. Facebook and other social media makes that separation difficult, I’ve learned. Way back when, you knew your friends were moving on, but in real time, you already know that your friends at home are truly moving on, creating new inside jokes, discovering new things together. It’s painful, but the reality is that growth is painful – trying to fit in pants from a few years ago painful. That’s life – we move on, and sometimes that means people move on without us.

Our conversation wasn’t strained, and I already knew she made up her mind. As we walked out the door, I asked her for the one thing she liked about San Francisco, or even USF, and we walked the remainder of the walk in silence until we parted ways with a friendly good bye.

I wish her, and the rest of you, lots of luck. Wherever you wind up.


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