Thursday, March 26, 2015

Relatively speaking.

Remember yesterday when I told you about the wonderful news from William and Mary?  (The college, not my friends...)  Well, it got me thinking about technology, and how BIG news is delivered these days.  Certainly, the post from Audrey's dad yesterday morning helped to fuel my musing, and he generously agreed to my using it here in this blog:

Today, I’m traveling to see clients in York and allowed myself a little extra time to sleep. It’s normally pretty quiet in the house as the girls go through the morning routine.
Today, it wasn’t. I heard giddy voices. Sing song speech that sounded packed full of joy.
I had my suspicions, but I hated to hope too much, but…I was right!
Audrey got the news….The College of William and Mary would like to “welcome her to the Tribe!”
What a journey it’s been for this young lady. We’re so happy for her!

When I was a kid...

I vividly remember receiving my first acceptance to college.  I was the first one home after school, and got the mail.  There was a FAT envelope.  While today the best and the brightest are finding out about prestigious college acceptances via email long before the "official" envelopes are mailed, back in the day a FAT envelope almost didn't need to be opened; everybody knew that the news inside was wonderful.  I remember jumping around, with absolutely no one to tell.  Cellphones weren't invented yet; heck, we didn't even have cordless phones.

Oh, and before you make some joke about picking up the phone to tell someone else on the party line, I AM NOT THAT OLD.

But I did pick up the phone, and called my Relative.   The capitalization of the word is intentional, as my mother's sister has been my Relative ever since I turned 16 and she decided that she was too young to be an aunt to someone old enough to drive.   She answered, probably while canning blueberry jam with little people in her kitchen looking for after-school snacks after elementary school, yet took the time to be super-excited for me, and celebrate my news as if I'd been elected to a role of extreme importance.  Thirty-five years later, I can still envision that phone conversation, and am so very grateful that Nancy picked up the phone.

A couple of weeks ago, a student approached me with a printout of an email from Williams College.  (Ranked #1 in the COUNTRY.)  It was an advance email, announcing her acceptance PRIOR to their official mailings, and encouraging her to commit to them because they clearly want her to be part of their freshman class next year.   My first reaction was tears for this amazing young lady and her accomplishments, followed by, probably, more hugs than she really ever expected as a result of a printed email.  I was pretty astounded that there is a "pre-acceptance" notification like that, but figured that after Carnegie Mellon and Fordham's erroneous acceptance emails, colleges are being very careful.

Certainly there is still something wonderful about the official, hold-it-in-your-hands-and-wave-it-in-the-air FAT envelope.   It's fascinating to me that the electronic "speed of acceptance" these days is still bringing giggles and joy shared with relatives.  For Audrey, it was an early-morning announcement, shared first with her sister.  

For her parents, hearing giddy voices through the wall, well, it's the secondary telling, and so on, and so on.

Technology is connecting us in strange and wonderful ways, and the nucleus of the college experience is excitement shared with family, teachers and friends.   It's hard to imagine how the news will be delivered in another 35 years, yet we can rest assured, knowing that there will be giggling, hugs, and tears, as the class of 2054 is notified of the placement for the next phase of their lives.