“Finding Nemo” and Wisconsin Winters (yes, there is a connection)

Editor’s note: We enlisted the help of our summer tour guides to write a blog post summarizing, curating and—as Lawrentians often do—putting their own whimsical take on the results of a survey we sent to parents and guardians of incoming Lawrentians, asking them questions about the college search process, their hopes for (and nerves on behalf of) their students, and a handful of other curiosities. Without further introduction, we’ll hand you off to our students and your responses.  (Thanks, Daniel, Jenny, Patsy, Jake, Katie, and Anh.)

Before you read this, you should know that we are not parents. We’ve babysat, we’ve tutored, and we’ve played with some kids in our time—but that is obviously not the same thing as being a parent.

Regardless, here we are, writing a blog for all of you—parents of our newest Lawrentians!

While we were reading your responses to the parent survey we sent out earlier this summer, we tried to figure out how we could best relate to you. Oddly enough, the first thing to pop into our heads was a scene from the 2003* Pixar film, Finding Nemo, between Nemo’s father, Marlin, and Dory, the memory-challenged blue tang:

Marlin: I promised I’d never let anything happen to him [Nemo].
Dory: Hmm. That’s a funny thing to promise.
Marlin: What?
Dory: Well, you can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.

*Most of our incoming Lawrentians would have been between six to eight years old when that first came out.

The world is full of harrowing masses of jelly fish, shadowy drop-offs, and terrifying barracudas. And there are lots of things parents can worry about when their students head off to college: everything from pressure for academic success to student debt to laundry. Many of you mentioned [these worries] in your comments. However, many of you also told us about how strong your students are. They have overcome challenges and worked hard. And we know, as you do, that they are capable of so many great things, here at Lawrence and beyond.

On behalf of your students, we’d like to thank you for all you’ve done to prepare them for their college years—and on behalf of Lawrence, we’d like to assure you that we’re continually working to make our little corner of the ocean a safe place where students can grow and be challenged, both academically and personally. We can’t promise nothing will happen. Things will happen—good things, bad things, confusing things, comforting things. And when they do, you can join the Lawrence community in congratulating, sympathizing with, understanding, and growing right alongside your student.

Let the adventure begin!

Daniel Bernstein, ’17
Jenny Hanrahan, ’18
Patsy Kealey, ’16
Jake Lueck, ’17
Katie Nelson, ’17
Anh Ta, ’18

Thanks for reading! We enjoyed reading every single one of your responses, and here you can check out some of our favorites:

What did you enjoy about the college search process?

  • She became more of who she is rather than trying to fit a mold of who she should be.
  • It was a time of forced togetherness. My son actually wanted my thoughts and advice and we engaged on a deeper level as a result.
  • I enjoyed seeing the process unfold for my son…it is such a big decision and so personal, and I feel like I got to know my son better as a result.
  • The process in general is not enjoyable… but a necessity. The most enjoyable part is when you are done.
  • A surprise at the mailbox each day. Seeing the many possibilities out there.
  • The on-campus visits. That was the time when you could [see] your child growing in front of your eyes. Before that, college was simply hypothetical, but meeting her peers who had already made the transition was magic.
  • Watching you[r] child find [their] place and people.

We all hope for the best… about what are you most hopeful for your student at Lawrence?

  • I would like [my daughter] to be able to try new things, experience courses that will expand her knowledge. I want her to love learning again!
  • That he will continue to flourish on the LU campus by making lifetime friends, excelling academically/intellectually with guidance from engaged faculty and staff, and continue to learn about himself to find his passion(s) in this life.
  • That she will find her intellectual passion and build a solid knowledge base to achieve all that she aspires to.
  • My biggest hope is that her intellectual curiosity will be fostered, encouraged, and challenged by her community of Lawrence professors and classmates.
  • I hope Lawrence pushes him to “find” and challenge himself to be all he can be.

What are you nervous about?

  • Not nervous at all—I know this girl is ready to fly!
  • That he will be terribly disorganized, forgetful and (for a couple of months) cold.
  • The basics—eating, sleeping, getting to class, etc.
  • That he will miss us (parents) and that he won’t miss us…
  • …that she will end up living in Wisconsin for the rest of her life. That she will be far away from me because of the connections she builds at college.

What is your favorite thing about Lawrence?

  • There seems to be a “you be you, I’ll be me, and we are all cool with that” [culture].
  • Soon it will be the fact that my daughter is there.
  • It specializes in the individual… Lawrence seems to be saying “you’re one of us now, we watch out for each other. [We’re] there to help, sometimes even to push you to make sure you thrive.”
  • Its eclectic and bright student body and talented faculty that have chosen to teach undergrads are definitely a huge plus.
  • Mental diversity (many different approaches to learning/teaching and ways of thinking).
  • It feels like it is a family. The philosophy doesn’t seem to be that the incoming freshmen are adults, but “beginning adults” who need some guidance.
  • The people—students, professors, conservatory staff, admissions personnel and the president. We have been impressed with the intelligence, passion and warmth displayed by all.
  • The sense of community—and the sense of humor! Lawrence says it like it is—and in a fun way!!!
  • That she feels at home there.

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