I'm sure you can imagine Chloe's reaction when Vandy emailed and said they'd like to interview her for Fall 2017 admission. Candidly, it's her dream come true. I knew that Chloe was college bound, but what I didn't realize is just how much she truly wants to be a Vanderbilt Commodore. I understand that and I've encouraged her to reach for the stars, dare to dream and work really, REALLY hard!
After the initial joy wore off, we examined her closet and decided a shopping trip was in order! We wanted her to look professional, but fun. After all, that's who she is. She can hold her own while discussing most geeky science topics, but she's probably going to tell a joke or funny story somewhere in the middle.
We received the agenda for the day and a detailed map of the school from Next Steps. I ADORE how thorough their communications have been. As a parent, you want to understand what to expect so you can prepare your child as best you can. Especially when, you aren't there. That's right...Miss Chloe interviewed with a panel of staff throughout the day, attended book club, a Vanderbilt University class (which I'm proud to say she took notes during) and ate lunch with "ambassadores" and currently enrolled students. I know that her daddy and I were more nervous than she was. I think about how I would've been at 17 and I was nowhere nearly as confident and focused as she is.
When Chloe was first diagnosed with Williams Syndrome, there were certain things, preconceived notions I had. These included that she probably wouldn't be a brain surgeon, but that she'd probably live with me forever. In fact, I used to joke and say we'd learn to crochet together and who knows maybe we will, BUT it will be AFTER CHLOE GRADUATES FROM COLLEGE! That's one thing I didn't plan on and so far the one curveball I love the most.
Well, that and Chloe's love of figure skating. We visited our friends at the Centennial Sportsplex and as they say in the south -- they "put on the dog". I have to give props to Sherry in the ice office and the fantastic coach Robert for making skating look so FUN. I ALMOST wanted to join in! (Hey, I said almost)!
We stayed in the suburb of Franklin and began to kind of scope out the housing situation ... just in case!
No trip to Vandy is complete without a trip to the bookstore. Chloe grabbed some souvenirs for her friends and browsed all the logo gear available over a pumpkin spice latte. I love how well she fits into the environment and culture around campus. She talked to once of the employees- a student and they discussed her courses and tailgating ;)
It's clear to me that Chloe has made the transition from being a high school student to a college-bound high school student and even if Vanderbilt isn't in her future it's been a catalyst for opening the door to her options. Chloe has embraced that college is in her future and she's continuing to improve her skills and work on applying to additional programs.
This experience overall was wonderful for her and also for me. I'm learning more and more to empower her to make choices, have confidence and I'm beginning (even if slowly) to let go.
Thanks for the experience, Vandy!! Maybe we'll call Nashville home and maybe we won't, but either way - we've grown and learned from the process!