Yes! Accepted to college — #AtoZChallenge 2023

Y is for Yes! Accepted to college. Twenty-fifth of 26 posts in the April 2023 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: Endwell: My High School Years — adding my story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.

During my junior year of high school, college-bound students like me began exploring our options. To help me choose where I’d go, my college-grad parents bought me a copy of Peterson’s Four-Year Colleges guide. For me, it was a dream book!

The pages were thin and tissuey, and you could look up colleges all over the U.S. by major or location. Night after night, I did just that – reading the glowing descriptions and fantasizing about campus life far from Endwell, N.Y., my small, suburban hometown.

Luckily, my parents also wanted me to have the experience of going to an away college like they had.

Shell: a pen-and-ink drawing by Molly Charboneau (1967). Once I decided on UB as my college I prepared the required art portfolio. Happily, it was accepted by the university’s Art Dept. Photo by Molly Charboneau

I planned to major in art, which narrowed my choices. My parents were also cost-conscious since they hoped to send all five of us children to college – and that further focused my search on more economical in-state schools.

I would have loved to go to New York City – my dream destination since attending the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair at fourteen. But I sensed this would be too much of a leap right out of high school. So I decided that Buffalo, New York State’s second largest city, would do.

To finalize things, my parents and I shopped around during a college night at the high school – where I recall going from table to table as college recruiters pitched their ivy halls and academic programs.

I decide on University at Buffalo

University at Buffalo, Main Street campus. UB had an art program (my chosen major), was in a large city (my preference), and had a lovely Main St. campus (which resonated with my parents’ college memories) – and it was also affordable. So I applied there in the fall of senior year.

Most compelling to me was State University of New York at Buffalo – UB for short. The school had an art program (my chosen major), was in a large city (my preference), and had a lovely Main St. campus (which resonated with my parents’ college memories).

As a state school, UB was also affordable — plus the recruiters showed us amazing maps and brochures about planned campus expansions.

According to my journal, my family and I drove there for an in-person look during the summer after my junior year and picnicked afterwards:

Mon., Aug. 21, 1967: We went to Buffalo last weekend to look at the college (U. of Buf.) – It’s GREAT and I want to go there, by the way – and we ate at this county park.

After that, I applied to UB during the early decision period in the fall of my senior year and prepared the required portfolio for submission to the university’s Art Dept.

My acceptance letter arrives

“When you get accepted, I’m going to buy you a beer mug,” my mom promised. She and dad had sorority/fraternity beer mugs from college, so she saw this as a symbolic rite of passage.

Then it was just a matter of waiting for the letter of acceptance from UB – which I tried not to be too nervous about.

My college beer mug, a gift from my mom when my college acceptance letter arrived in 1967. Mom could not have picked a better slogan to capture the off-to-college spirit than the one on this treasured mug. Photo by Molly Charboneau

Finally, one afternoon while I was shopping in nearby Endicott, the letter from UB arrived. My mom picked me up at the Georgia Hanks store, where I was buying art supplies.

When I got into the car, Mom didn’t say a word – she just smiled, reached into her bag, and handed me a beer mug. Yes! I’d been accepted to college.

Back home, my dad was also all smiles and jokingly said, “I’m going to give you the advice my mother gave me when I went to college: keep your grades up, don’t join a fraternity and don’t sign up for the football team.” Ha-ha — as if!

And soon after, the Art Dept. accepted my portfolio, qualifying me to be an art major!

First steps into adult life

With the application process over, I was excited to be heading to college — a long anticipated goal. But I also wondered what my new campus life would be like.

University at Buffalo (UB) library, Main St. campus. At 18, I was excited to be heading to college, but I also wondered what my new campus life would be like — especially when I learned no one else from my class was going there.

Comparing notes with my classmates, I was surprised to learn I was the only one going to UB — and just one other Maine-Endwell student was already there, my classmate Paula’s older brother Gary who I didn’t know well.

So it was official: big city, big campus, big distance from home, big steps into adult life and — big deep breath — I’d be making them on my own.

Up next, Z is for Zip Code changes: Graduation & my fond farewell to Endwell. Please stop back for my last A-to-Z 2023 post!

© 2023 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

7 thoughts on “Yes! Accepted to college — #AtoZChallenge 2023”

  1. Such an exciting time for you and a huge experience of learning about life. Your parents were obviously very supportive.

  2. An exciting time and very well told! College letters are probably everyone’s first experience with rejection or acceptance. My first aspirations to attend a music conservatory were denied, mainly because I delayed too late in the application process. Sadly my private music teacher had left town in my junior year and I had no guidance on where to go or how to apply. I ended up at a local state university which was commuting distance from home. In hindsight I learned more about myself and my other interests at a small university (no football, so no marching band!) than I might have discovered at a music school where the intense competition could have overwhelmed me.

  3. I went to work right out of high school – well, after one last summer of freedom. I started in September working for a company across the bay in San Francisco near where my Dad worked which created a special experience as I was still living at home and we commuted to work together on the same bus giving me a unique opportunity to get to know him as more than just my father, but as an individual in his own right. And because we worked only a few blocks apart we’d sometimes meet for lunch. I remember those times with such fond memories. I did, later, take night classes at the local community college, but that special time I had with my Dad for the years I was working was a wonderful education of its own. 🙂

  4. That must have been so exciting, and it’s so wonderful that your parents were both supportive of you going away to college. That isn’t always the case (one of my cousins went to a college in her city but wanted to live in a dorm and did that stir up a fight with her father.) I went to a commuter college – lived in the Bronx and went to a Bronx college. No dorms. Lived at home the entire four years. But several high school friends were also going to that college. That made the transition a lot easier.

    1. I envy you those high school friends who went to your college. I was on my own until I made new friends, but in the end it added to my resilience in new environments — all part of the learning process.

  5. Exciting times! I went to college in 1964, a local mostly commuter university, and I lived at home. I wanted to move out, but didn’t until I graduated.

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