“You realize this is your life.” I said with some intensity.
Liam’s eyes finally came alive.
Liam’s parents were kind, good-hearted and hard working. Liam attended Old Saybrook High School in Connecticut and, like many teen boys, was not invested in the college process. AT ALL. We met for college counseling but they also knew that while the strategies would be important that the motivation to be part of the process would be more important.
Liam was a decent student. His grades and test scores were fine. He also played a sport and was at least technically involved in a community service club, although he had done very little.
As for college planning, his parents tried to talk with him on several occasions. As a sophomore, he just was not interested. As a junior – when he should have been interested – he would claim to be “busy” which was reasonably true particularly during the fall when he played his main sport but his parents noted that he somehow found the time to play video games.
Entering senior year, he had not thought about college other than the proverbial “maybe UCONN.”
The University of Connecticut is a great school – for some and perhaps for many – but his parents noted and I concur that some students seem to get lost while there, graduating in 5-6 years and not growing that much because they hang out with either high school friends or come home on the weekends a bit too much. To be clear, I am a fan of UCONN and think it is wonderful for some of our college counseling clients. But the simple “default” option is not best for all. Moreover, UCONN has become both increasingly harder and unpredictable in its admissions.
As I do sometimes, I asked Liam’s parents if I could talk to him alone. That’s when I made the comment about his life. Interestingly, Liam was quick to admit that he was “just going through the motions” and until recently thought he would have time to figure out what he wanted.
The trigger for motivating him: his recognition that it was he who was moving from home; soon to be living with new people; and starting a new life.
We got to work. Another college counseling rescue operation!