It can be very difficult to send your child off to college. For me, I was very excited for my daughter to attend college. She was going to be attending my Alma mater. Therefore, I knew the large campus very well. The college was only 2 1/2 hours away and I looked forward to taking trips to go visit her. However, her first year of college was ridiculously terrible. Her 18th birthday was on move in day.
Semester 1: My daughter had a roommate from hell. I realize adjusting to living with someone can be difficult. I was thinking along the lines of disagreements, etc. but being able to work things out. Nope. This roommate would not allow the windows or curtains to be open…EVER and she would turn off the lights at 7pm. She was afraid of spiders so she would spray the dorm room, heavily with pesticide spray, daily. This girl’s family lived in town; therefore she would go home on weekends and instruct my daughter to not open the windows. My daughter would say hi to her in the halls and she would get snubbed. The roommate would let the door close on her, etc and on and on it went like that. She was just very mean, to the point of abusive, to my daughter. My daughter began having nightmares of being killed by this girl. They sat down with the RA on their dorm floor several times. It would seem like they made progress during the sessions, only to have the roommate walk out of the counseling room and immediately ignore my daughter, as well as, continue with her nasty ways. This girl had no intention of even trying to get along with my daughter. Therefore, we requested to get a new single room assignment for the spring semester. It was a very long winter break, waiting to see if a room would open up for her. Thankfully, one did open up.
Semester 2: My daughter is now moved into her new single dorm room. Whew, what a relief! Not so fast though. The first week of classes, my daughter is sitting in her biology lab lecture and she begins to have a headache and partial blindness in one eye. This was on a Wednesday. By Friday the blindness is getting worse. My husband had that Friday off, so he drove to the campus and took her to the hospital walk in clinic around 9am. They sent her to an ophthalmologist that same day. She had a vision field test done, which confirmed blindness in the superior part of her vision in her left eye. The same day she had to go back to the hospital for an MRI. It was a very long day. My husband calls me at 2 am to tell me that she was diagnosed with optic neuritis.
At the time, I was not that worried because it sounded like her eye was inflamed for some reason. I thought she would get an anti inflammatory medication and be good to go. However, my daughter would go on to need 5 days of intense IV steroids to try to get her vision back. I slept on her dorm floor, so that I could try to get her to the hour long appointments and to classes so that she wouldn’t fall behind in them. Plus, we were both pretty scared. She needed to make an appointment with Neurology. We were in limbo not knowing why she had to go to see a neurologist. The neurologist informed us that the MRI showed lesions on my daughters brain consistent with multiple sclerosis. We were all quite devastated by her diagnosis. Thankfully, my husband is a pharmacist. He was very helpful when it came to deciding on a medication and asking good questions.
What a Freshman year, huh? My daughter ended up taking that semester off with approval from the dean. She had a difficult time adjusting to reading with one eye and she did fall behind. Also, she (we all) needed that time to get ourselves regrouped. Ironically, her major was neurobiology prior to the MS diagnosis.
After that, it was very difficult for me to not worry about her. She is now 22 and I still worry about her. It was also difficult for me to be a part of the parent Facebook page. I would see parents getting so upset over the pettiest things. Things like, “there isn’t a hook or shelf in the bathroom,” or some sort of clothing issue, etc. They were not just getting information, either. They were really upset. To me, it seems like people who get upset over the little things. have never really experienced something truly horrible. I was never really one who got upset over minor things. Well, maybe as a child I did. Life manages to give you perspective, though.
One thing is for sure, you can only take one day at a time. Life is a step by step journey. Although one needs to plan for the future, one also needs to live in the now. Take a deep breath, enjoy what you can and please do not waste your time getting upset over petty situations. Be kind to people and patient with them, because you really don’t know what they are going through or have been through.