O Day One

September 15, 2016

Hey, did I mention Peter spent his first night in the dorms last night? After dinner in San Diego, we drove over to the campus, dropped him off on the backside of Meteor, and off we went to our hotel.

That was weird.

But it’s the beginning.

By this morning, it was already starting to feel like he’s gone, he’s back, he’s gone, he’s back. Even though there was only one gone and one back. So far.

Orientation Day One:


We all met in front of Galbraith Hall to check in for the orientation–Revelle’s fourth and final. The first three took place in June. Peter missed his due to getting sick, and couldn’t attend the other two because we were in Hawaii. This one, scheduled to coincide with move-in day, was designed to accommodate out of town–way out of town–folks for whom two trips to La Jolla was not doable. Therefore, we shared orientation with most of the out of state and international families. Made it all the more interesting.

We checked in, got our respective programs, and parents (maybe the kids, I’m not sure) got these:


Now THAT’S great swag!

They started with breakfast for about 450 folks…. 300 kids, 150 adults.


Tables were set up under the trees at “Stonehenge” one of numerous sculpture gardens around campus…


… on an incredibly pleasant fall morning…


Kids were already sitting in groups of friends they’d met in the dorms the night before:


Nico, Peter, Cole (roommate), Lion (suitemate).

Parents sat with other parents. We sat with a guy from Iran, a couple from Michigan (via India), and a guy from Saratoga (via China). We heard lots of back stories and a range of experiences related to sending kids to college. Warm and wonderful.

There was a large joint welcoming session with brief introductions of the key Revelle administrative folks–provost, and a couple of deans. Then ice breaking antics from the 16 peer leaders.


Kids took off for the rest of the day/night.

After the welcome, parents headed over to another huge lecture hall (York) and had a series of informative sessions. Provost Paul Yu provided a history of Revelle/UCSD and an overview of their academic philosophy. The deans of student affairs and academic advising talked about the many programs in place to support student success. We learned about FERPA (the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), wherein our adult kids are now in charge of their own affairs, including access to grades and medical records. They introduced the tandem bike metaphor where, heretofore, kids have sat in the back of the bike with parents doing the guiding; now they are in front with parents playing a supporting role. We now follow their lead. I thought that was a pretty effective analogy. We learned about overwhelm, pressure, struggle, self-advocacy, drop deadlines, and more.

We got good info on all aspects of resident life… dining dollars, Triton cash, transportation, drinking, security, etc.

All presentations excellent. Then we were shepherded to lunch at the Faculty Club.. yet another building that did not exist when I went to school there.

Here is the iconic campus Sun God, erected in 1984 and the namesake for the annual spring Sun God Festival:


The Faculty Club is adjacent to the statue and is a lovely venue, crawling with professors:


Lunch was nice… again, it was just nice to talk with parents from all over, whose kids’ paths led to UCSD in such a variety of ways. Good perspectives all around and reinforced the universality of the experience of sending a kid off to college.

The afternoon was a whole slew of breakout sessions and included parents from some (maybe all) of the other UCSD colleges. We ambled toward the center of campus through one of many eucalyptus forests…


…and arrived at the Price Center and Center Hall, which is along the so-called Library Walk–a long, broad walkway leading up to the famed Geisel Library. None of this (except the library) was here when I was… it’s all very big, fancy and impressive.


Jim and I attended three sessions: Parent and Family Programs; Professional and Career Development; and Study Abroad. All three excellent. I think the most thought-worthy take away was this graphic:


Hard to read in this slide, but is considered a fairly standard experience by most college students living away for the first time. Good stuff to keep in mind.

They directed us back through the forest and up the hill, back to Galbraith for a student services fair. Took a few photos along the way:

There is a graffiti park…


Here are a couple shots of one of the smaller student centers, this one located between Revelle and Muir:


I liked the way they planted these small trees. I’m sure there are plenty of plant biologists around to consult on such things:



The services fair comprised a few dozen staffed booths with info on things ranging from recreation opportunities to jobs to clubs. Good info, great swag. The kids also showed up for this. The parents and kids did not intermingle; it was clear the students wanted to maintain distance and autonomy.


Jim and I took off. Hung out in the hotel for a while (it was truly an exhausting day.. go figure) and then, in looking for a place to see a movie, came across a place called The LOT.


That La Jolla, I tell ya.

The LOT is a multi-function venue–high end dining, a uber flashy bar and a 7-theater luxury movie house. Everything is designed for maximum impact… it’s a serious feast for the senses. It’s priced way out of student reach so the place is a mix of wealthy society ladies going to the movies and hip young professionals flirting at the bar. That’s all a bit odd, but wow it was fun. We reclined deeply in our plushy reserved seats, perused the menu, and settled in for the new Oliver Stone movie Snowden. You could order full on dinner, or appetizers, or just drinks… all of which they’d bring to your table:


We’d already purchased our popcorn in the lobby (the salt & vinegar). I had pink lemonade and Jim had iced tea.

We’d made dinner reservations, as well, so after the movie (and after a trip to the not-to-be-missed bathroom) we sauntered into the dining room to be seated. It’d have been cool to sit beside one of many roaring fire pits, but they were taken, so we sat in a cavernous but very tasteful dining space–completely open to the outside–and had a really good pizza, a wonderful corn & tortilla soup, and house made doughnuts for dessert.



It was all insanely expensive. You know, but nice.

Then… back to the Sheraton. Just us….Peter no doubt immersed in fabulous and foreign social activities, fully, if tentatively, ensconced in his new home. Just across the street. Kinda weird, but wonderful at the same time.




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