On Sunday, Russell will receive his diploma from Vassar College. I’m sure every parent of a graduating college student says this — but it is hard to believe that it has been four years since we first drove to the Vassar campus and, on an excruciatingly hot day, moved Russell and all of his stuff into a cramped room on one of the upper floors of Main, the oldest building on campus.
Whenever a child picks a college and then starts school, the parent holds his breath. Will it be what he expected? Will he make friends? Will he get a good education? Most importantly, will he be happy? Or, will you get the dreaded middle-of-the-night phone call from the weeping child who says they hate the school and just want to come home?
By all of these standards, I think Vassar has been a good choice for our son. Russell has been happy there. He seems to have received a solid liberal arts education that has challenged him intellectually. He has enjoyed the arts curriculum at Vassar. His range and, I think, his confidence as an artist has grown. He has made many good friends who hail from every corner of the country. He learned how to play rugby and traveled with the team to Ireland. He received an award that allowed him to spend a memorable, sweaty summer traveling throughout Vietnam and creating art in the midst of the Vietnamese people. He participated in a number of art shows and got to organize the Vassar contribution to the Masters on Main Street exhibit.
And, when he receives his sheepskin on Sunday, he will have completed his schooling in four years and be ready to move out into the world. It is hard to believe that that day has come so soon — but it will be an occasion worth celebrating.