On a particularly frigid weekend in the middle of January, I was freezing in Providence, Rhode Island. It is a part of the country I had little reason to visit until now. My oldest daughter Alessandra is a sophomore in college, and just transferred from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. to Brown University in Providence.
Of course, I am SO proud of her accomplishment of acceptance to such a phenomenal institution. I was also glad I could help her settle in and see this new and exciting world in which she'll be living in for the next few years. Providence and Brown are both incredibly storied sites. They have histories that are infinitely more far-reaching than anything we have in the Pacific Northwest. The knowledge that so many people from so long ago had lived and learned in this one small place was exciting and amazing.
As a proud mother, I wanted to write this post to share Alessandra's achievement, but also to talk in a wider way about dreams, self exploration, and self actualization.
From the beginning of her time at George Washington, Alessandra wasn't happy. The school didn't ignite her passion, and the atmosphere didn't feel right. Very early on in her freshman year, she decided she wanted to change schools. No sooner than we said yes, she set to work and put the wheels in motion. After a long process of soul searching, applying, and waiting (both before and after her acceptance) we finally arrived at Brown on a snowy January day. Throughout the weekend orientation, Alessandra kept saying how happy and fulfilled she felt. I could certainly see it in her eyes and hear it in her voice. As a parent, you wish the world for your child. But, seeing your child go out and take the world for herself is another level of happiness I was fortunate enough to witness.
This is a photo of the new transfer students as they walk through Brown's main gate to begin their career as Brown students (it's only opened twice a year for new students to walk in and graduating seniors to walk out).
There's Alessandra on her way through the gates.
The second semester transfer students accompanied by the Brown Marching Band.
The lesson is this: regardless of whether you are a young adult with a horizon full of new possibilities or a mother with two school aged children, it is never too soon to to change your life for the better. As Brown is fond of reminding its students, you are the architect of your own future. You already have all the tools you need to realize yourself and your bliss. All you must do is be willing to explore and to take risks that unlock them.