The Next Generation

Arriving at Haverford and continuing a Bi-Co legacy.

By the time you read this, I will have delivered our eldest child to Haverford, where he will be a freshman. That I am certain it will be a bittersweet event is an understatement.

Our family has strong ties with Haverford. My husband is an alum (we met the first month of our freshman year at an HPA party), his nephew just graduated from the college, and the son of our best man (one of our very best friends from college) is a sophomore. I took half my courses at Haverford (my husband did the same at Bryn Mawr) and spent endless hours ferrying between the campuses on the Blue Bus, piloted by the inimitable Tex. So, of course the Bi-College community was the first stop on our East Coast college tour two years ago. Despite subjecting our child to what he characterized as a nauseating cascade of reminiscences (tell a teen boy even tame stuff like “Oh, sweetie! This is the duck pond where Mommy and Daddy used to have picnics and hold hands!” and get ready for the eye rolls), he nonetheless decided to apply.

We live in California, which has a great state school system, but many of our son’s friends have also decided to go to college out of state, and most of our parent friends have reported that the thought of having their child so far away over the next four years is daunting. I resonate with that but know that I am very fortunate: Because of my volunteer role for the Bryn Mawr Alumnae Association, I travel to campus several times a year. Though my son teases me that I will be taking helicopter parenting to a new level by visiting him practically every month during his first year, I also know that he will come to anticipate my visits as steak dinner opportunities. I am also lucky because I have an intimate knowledge of the community he is entering, and I am confident that he will be well cared for, starting with Customs Week and then throughout the year, by dedicated student volunteers, amazing faculty, and hardworking staff. I know the campus well and can clearly imagine him studying in the library, eating in the dining hall, or taking a run through the arboretum.

I am an alumna from a generation when the Bi-College community was exceptionally strong; we enjoyed housing exchange in addition to dining, threw Bi-Co parties, and even shared a yearbook (The Accord). I understand that in the intervening years, the relationship between the colleges has waxed and waned, though the hard work of the “Kims” (our president Cassidy and Haverford’s past president Benston) in recent years has gone a long way toward renewing our ties. I, for one, am very glad about this renaissance; as institutions, we are stronger together, and selfishly, I so want my son to have the most robust of Bi-College experiences.

For the next several weeks, I will try to wring every last drop out of our summer together: we’ve been taking long walks, prepping for his driving test, watching movies, exploring the local food scene, and even racing to solve the intricacies of an escape room; I flatter myself by thinking he is trying to soak up as much time together as I am. And when the fall comes, I will remind myself, through not a few tears, that he won’t so much be leaving us but rather, in a way, going home.