Our son Michael went to college this week. Yeah, I know, he’s only in the 7th grade! He didn’t enroll or anything; he just went to Louisiana College for a visit. But it was a very memorable and I believe formative visit for him. Here’s the story:
Last Monday evening I was getting ready to go to Pineville to LC, our state Baptist college, where our daughter Libby and her husband Josh, and our daughter-in-law Ashley all attend, and where I serve on the Board of Trustees. I was to attend a special called meeting of the Executive Board at 8:00 Tuesday morning. Then I remembered that Libby had suggested that I take Michael with me up there to class some time. That was a good idea! It was going to be a long, early drive, and I didn’t particularly look forward to making it alone. And Michael has done very well in school; many of his standardized test scores show post high school results, and I have been teaching him Greek after school this semester. We have considered having him take the ACT just to see where he stands. I thought it might be a good idea to give him a taste of college. Since I would be in meetings, he would have to attend class all day with Libby, but she was graciously receptive to the idea. Not all sisters would have been; I appreciated that. Then came the big question: would Michael want to go? Did he! He was thrilled! Even when I told him we would have to leave early, he was fine with it. In fact, he came out a few minutes later and informed me on his own that he was going to go ahead and go to bed so that he could get up early for the trip. It spoke volumes that he was so excited about it!
My meeting (and his first class) started at 8:00, so we had to leave quite early, as it is a two-hour drive to LC from home. But when I roused him just after 5:30, he jumped up. He was ready for college! We met Libby and Josh just before 8:00 as they were on the way to their first classes, and I sent Michael off with Libby, and proceeded to my board meeting.
I sure wanted to be a fly on the wall in those classes. How would Michael do? What would he think? Would everything be way over his head? Would he act in a mature enough manner not to be a distraction? And what would he think about the actual class content? He was excited about the 8:00 offering, “Ancient Greece & Rome”, because he loves history and warfare – but an actual college class on that topic is NOT a video game! Would the class be boring; over his head? Would it all do more damage than good? I was anxious to hear.
After a long day of meetings, I met the kids. I asked Libby how Michael did sitting through the classes. “He did great”, she said. “Other than his age, he totally fit in. He was just like another student. He even asked a question!” Michael’s appraisal of the day? He loved it. “They only used one word I didn’t know all day, but I was able to figure it out from the context.”
He was enthralled with Dr. Scott Culpepper’s “Ancient Greece & Rome” class. In fact, I am fairly certain that I had the greatest portion of that lecture repeated to me on the way home! Michael told me all about the Spartans and the Athenians; the differences in the role of women in each of those cities, etc. He was thrilled to hear Dr. Culpepper refer to the Spartans as the “Klingons” of their day – a “Star Trek” reference right in the midst of a college class! (No wonder Dr. Culpepper has been awarded “Teacher of the Year” several times at LC. There are many 20-year-old “Michael’s” in his classes!) This class was the one in which Michael asked the question. I understand that Dr. Culpepper mentioned something about the Greek ecclesia, or assembly, and Michael promptly raised his hand, and Dr. Culpepper recognized him. Mike asked if the Bible book Ecclesiastes’ name came from that Greek word. He said that the good doctor replied that he was sure the words were cousins somehow (not a bad answer for a non-Greek professor!) I thought it was neat that Michael was not too intimidated to ask a question in class, and that Dr. Culpepper just treated Mike as he would have any other student.
Next Michael went with Libby to her Advanced Writing class. I had wondered how his attention might hold through this one (unless they happened to be writing about warfare!) but he said that the class members divided into small groups, and each person read to their group a paper they had written. He was impressed with his sister: “Libby is like a Jane Austen!”, he exclaimed.
Following that class, he took a nap in Josh & Libby’s apartment while Lib went to her Modern Drama class. Michael told me he didn’t think that one sounded very interesting. (I chuckled; I didn’t think so either!) He thought it was terrific that in college you don’t have to go to classes straight through every day, but that you get breaks in between – there is nothing like that at First Baptist Academy! This is the life! After lunch, he went with Libby and Josh to their class on The Gospel of John. He later gave me a summary of the class, and mentioned how his brother-in-law Josh made several comments/observations.
His overall impression? Very enthusiastic! He loved the teachers, the classes, the lessons, the whole college setup. He would love to go now! But he was realistic: “Just think, in only 6 years I will get to go here!” I smiled. That was my idea exactly!