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"Smith, Smith, Smith, Smith, & Smith"

It's official, it's real. Gavi has been admitted to Smith College under Smith's Early Decision program.

Smith was not only her first choice of colleges, when I asked her what her list looked like a couple of months ago, she replied with the quote in the subject line. Yep; it was her first through fifth choice of schools. Early Decision was clearly the right choice for this student.

She's obviously pleased by the good news, pleased and relieved that she doesn't have to write college essays for Barnard, Princeton, and the other schools she was going to apply to if the news from Smith had been anything else.

Me? I'm suffused with happiness. Happiness for Gavi, and with the ohmigosh sheer wonder not just that she'll soon be going to college, but that she'll be going to college right here in the Pioneer Valley, a mere 42 miles from Toad Woods. Or 38 miles by the slower back roads.

Back when I was talking about moving away from Minneapolis, Susan firmly and immediately said, "You can move away when Gavi goes off to college." Susan was right; being 1300+ miles away from Gavi these past 7 years has been the hardest consequence of my move. Yet I also knew that waiting until my late 50s wasn't going to work for this whole "living in the woods" experience. If I was ever going to do it, I needed to move when I did.

Gavi, Susan, and I have done a terrific job of making lemon meringue pie out of big basket of lemons I brought to the table by moving away. One of the first things I did upon buying Toad Woods was to use frequent flyer miles so Gavi could not just see where I lived, but also see it was a place she could come to. In the years since, Susan's driven out four times so she and Gavi be here for long, wonderful visits. I've been back to Minneapolis as often as I've been able, and Gavi's been east on her own a couple of times, too. Gavi would have been looking east to come to school regardless of whether I was here or not, and having Toad Woods as a home base made it easy to visit several different colleges over the past two summers.

And now? Now she's coming here. Here to Smith, the school that's so clearly such a good fit and exactly where she wants to be. Here to the Pioneer Valley, home of Toad Woods, Aunt Geri, and many wondrous times to come.

Goshwow. Life is good. Life is so very good.

Congratulations, Gavi!


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 16th, 2010 02:59 am (UTC)
Congratulations to Gavi and glad for you as well!
Dec. 16th, 2010 03:06 am (UTC)
Congratulations to Gavi, and felicitations to the lady who cares about her so much!
Dec. 16th, 2010 03:41 am (UTC)
That's absolutely wonderful - for both of you. :-)
Dec. 16th, 2010 04:14 am (UTC)
What great news. Congratulations to Gavi!
Dec. 16th, 2010 04:14 am (UTC)
happy for you and Gavi.
Dec. 16th, 2010 04:42 am (UTC)
Go, Gavi!

The Elder Daughter felt the same way about Bryn Mawr -- she took one look at the campus and it was instantly the only place she really wanted to go. (In fact, in her case she took that first look at it when she was about 12, when she went with Himself and me to a speaking engagement at the BMC sf club. As we got into the car to leave, she said, "If this is what college is like, then I'm going here." At the time, we laughed. But the truth was, she and Bryn Mawr fit each other like hand and glove.)
Dec. 16th, 2010 05:17 am (UTC)
I couldn't have told you where Smith was - though I've been to the Pioneer Valley several times. It's great she'll be near you - don't squeeze her too hard!
Dec. 16th, 2010 05:17 am (UTC)
I remember as if it were a much shorter time ago your telling me that Gavi, very shortly after her first appearance on this earth, had slept in your arms for three hours, and what a revelation that was.

Dec. 16th, 2010 05:35 am (UTC)
Thank you for the memory, and for the tears of joy it brings to my eyes.
Dec. 16th, 2010 07:07 am (UTC)

Okay, this looks a little more exuberant than I have any right to feel, but I got wrapped up in messing around with the letters and all that...
Dec. 16th, 2010 07:30 am (UTC)

I found the animated font resource through a comment on malkingrey's post about other good college news. It's fun.
Dec. 16th, 2010 10:12 am (UTC)
Yeah. Why, one could publish a whole (electronic) fanzine with text set in such fonts. The first one created with that technology would certainly be... memorable.

Now I think I'll go to bed... and hope not to have nightmares.
Dec. 16th, 2010 07:45 am (UTC)
I suppose your relationship with Gavi has included aspects of mother-daughter, aunt-niece, and older-younger sister, and that in the next few years it will also add more of the element of equals-friends. You'll probably both find that rewarding, and (rightly) consider yourselves fortunate. And Gavi is extra-fortunate in (among other things) being accepted so early into the college of her choice.
Dec. 16th, 2010 08:09 am (UTC)
So happy for both of you. Lovely, lovely news.
Dec. 16th, 2010 10:26 am (UTC)
Dec. 16th, 2010 02:22 pm (UTC)
Dec. 16th, 2010 02:26 pm (UTC)
Dec. 16th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)
So . . . what makes Smith so irresistible?
(besides "all of the above" comments)
Dec. 17th, 2010 05:20 am (UTC)
IIUC, your question is what makes Smith so irresistible to Gavi. I wondered the same, and asked at various times during the search process, so while I certainly can't speak for her, here's my understanding of its appeal:

The simple if not very illuminating answer is that Gavi has loved everything about Smith since the first time she toured there, and perhaps even since she first heard about it from one of her high school friends who's currently a junior there. When she'd be in between encounters with Smith, she'd think it couldn't possibly be as good as she remembered it, then there would be some other encounter, either at the school or at Smith events in Minneapolis (active alum community), and that would be even better than what she remembered.

Early on, Gavi decided she was looking for a small, liberal arts college focused on undergraduate education and with a strong science program. She toured some larger schools, just to give them a try, but those tours only reinforced her decision to go to a relatively small school.

When I went along on tours, I was surprised at just how different the personality/identity of each school was. On their websites and on paper, there were a lot of similarities between Wellesley, Smith, Wesleyan, Bard, Barnard, Amherst, Bryn Mawr, and Mt. Holyoke. On campus, not so much. She wasn't looking specifically for a woman's college, but several women's colleges ended up in various credible positions on her list.

Every college has its traditions -- Gavi liked and was charmed by Smith's, while Amherst's "Fun Police" totally turned her off. If she had been choosing on location alone, she would have been applying only to colleges and universities in New York City. She utterly adores NYC much the same as she utterly adores Smith. But she's going to college for the school, not the city it's in, so Smith won out on that front, too. I'm glad Gavi was in the 4-week pre-college program at Barnard last summer, both for the pre-college experience and also for the time in NYC that it gave her. I won't be at all surprised if she ends up with internships or summer jobs down there, and grad school is a possibility, too.

Smith housing certainly has its appeal (houses rather than dorms), as does their paid internship program, but mostly it's the full package. As I understand it, there isn't any one...there aren't any three...factors that put Smith so firmly at the top of Gavi's list. But I have a gut-level feeling that if there were one single factor, it would be that every Smithie she's met has been a strong, lovely, interesting, and unique individual. Smith women are first and foremost themselves, with all the individual diversity that suggests. And that sounds like a very good thing, indeed.

Dec. 17th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC)
Gavi and Smith
Yes, this is absolutely wonderful news. And I continue being pleased to live in a culture, and a much smaller community, where a teenager's choice to pick her (or his) own college is respected and encouraged by parents and others around her (or him). I just went to the wikipedia article on Smith College, and it looks even better than I had expected. Way to go, Gavi!

Dec. 17th, 2010 05:43 am (UTC)
Re: Gavi and Smith
Exactly. Gavi's school has a great college counseling program that's totally focused on the student picking his or her own college. The program also has specific advice and support for parents, helping show them ways to support their teenager's college search and decision-making process.

As you can see on the 4th page of the SPA profile PDF, its graduates go darned near everywhere to college. Just looking at that list makes me smile, especially when I notice how many of the colleges have just 1 or 2 SPA grads from the past 5 years.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )


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