The Future

Yesterday I watched a virtual presentation on the University of Minnesota with my wife and Boy #1 (who was watching from Florida.) Initially he going to do a welding program at the local community college. That didn’t pan out, mostly because he just didn’t want to do it. He never even registered for it. He was told the money was good in welding once you were certified and experienced, but I don’t think that was ever him.

About a year ago he called me with very exciting news. He figured out what he really wanted to do! I waited for him to tell me and he was stalling, apparently scared that I would think he was weird. But then he told me he thought he had gifts and natural talent in helping people, listening well, and providing comfort. He said he wanted to go into mortuary science. I was happy for him because he’s right about his gifts and natural talents. He feel drawn to people and he can also stay detached at times. He always took the lead on handling pet deaths once he was about 12. He took over planning a brief “service” and comforting siblings every time. He was born empathetic.

Then it took him several months to figure out where he wanted to go to school. He looked around Florida, considered a school in Cincinnati, and one in Pittsburgh. Nothing really appealed to him much. And then he found the University of Minnesota. Something about that college is drawing him in. He doesn’t like the heat in the southeast, so Minnesota would be a good fit for him. He’s always hot. And as I found out yesterday, there’s tunnels connecting most of the campus. Can I go back to college again?

This place has everything you could ever want in a college. All the majors, all the classes, all the things to do, a dorm where dogs roam as they are training to be service dogs, and plenty of natural scenery to enjoy. What??

All the current students on the panel had interesting majors and two minors. Is everyone doing two minors now? They were all very articulate and answered the questions well. I know that colleges do a great job of presenting themselves to people they want to recruit but it really seems like this is as good as they all said. I am sure so much of it depends on what you put into it, like everything in life.

What made UMN stand out above all the other schools with a mortuary science program was that it’s connected to the medical school. I can’t articulate why that feels big and important, but it does. I think it’s important to understand the reality of what you are trying to do as early as possible, especially if it involves bodies and death. It seems like being attached to a medical school gives you more opportunities to confront the realities of the mortuary science industry.

He finally feels ready to head off to college. He will be 20 in May and he seemed mature but not mature when he graduated from high school in 2021. I think he just wasn’t ready. The pandemic really messed him up and threw his entire future plan into chaos. At one point he was going to be a music teacher. Then he was going to do something with science in China, because he taking Chinese and picking it up very quickly. But Chinese online was not the same. His personal interactions with his Chinese teacher was part of what made learning the language fun for him. She wasn’t teaching anymore, it was some online program and not the same. He stopped playing his instruments. He played all the saxophones, was teaching himself guitar, played bassoon and oboe, and could also play brass instruments with a bit of skill, but mostly he was into woodwinds. He could also play drums. But he stopped all of it. He sunk into a deep depression we hadn’t seen in him in 5 years. It was so much.

But he is emerging again. He has something to look forward now. He is ready to start his real adult life and get himself into a better place. He has so many opportunities in front of him and I am hopeful he will get into UMN and start in the fall. He deserves this opportunity and invested so much of himself into making life better for everyone around him.

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