We set out for Lubbock on Friday afternoon, preparing ourselves for the 5 hour trip. I told Ben since he wanted to visit Texas Tech, he was going to have to drive. All of it. To and from. He needed to see what that drive was going to be like. Selfishly, I wanted him to realize, wow this really sucks. I'll just stay in town and do my laundry at home. On the way there, I thought that if I were to ever go to school in Lubbock, you wouldn't see me for four years. Like...that's it. I'm in Lubbock. IT'S A REALLY LONG DRIVE.
I don't know that he came to that realization because the tour of campus was indeed impressive. Even though it took us 40 minutes to find the right building because streets are sparsely labeled and building names are shrouded in secrecy, it was all forgotten once we were in the lecture hall listening to the presentation. Ten minutes of listening to the speakers laud the merits of Tech, I was ready to go there. They were that convincing.
The campus was HUGE. So, so big. But the buildings were nice and they offered so much. Rec center, a beautiful pool with lazy river, really nice student union, lots of student housing. Ben would not let me ask if there was a Sorting Hat that tells you which dorm you're going to live in. He also would not let me ask if the football field doubled as the Quidditch field or was there a separate field for that. These are valid tour guide questions.
At one point during the tour, I was trailing behind Ben, listening to our tour guide and taking in the sprawling campus and architecture. It struck me as very odd that we were actually there. It's all fine and good to talk about college trips and making plans for the future, but it's another to actually see them come to fruition. Everything about Ben was a surprise, and that's usually the moment I remember in comparison to present day. He could definitely be labeled as a "surprise" baby, but he has been nothing but an immeasurable blessing I feel I was never worthy to receive. I feel like all these milestones are a life bonus because we never asked for Ben so it's all just this extra icing on the cake that we get to experience. It literally makes my heart ache to know that we only get one more year to parent Ben. Then he'll be a bona fide adult making his own decisions and living his own life. Not eating dinner with us. Not using the washing machine. Not eating all the cereal bars. That is going to suck.
While miles 26-300 were boring, the trip was fantastic. Ben is such a wonderful person and travel companion. I don't even have words. I want him to go to the college of his choice, not the one that is closest because it's the closest. Being a late-in-life college student meant I didn't get the opportunity to tour campuses and narrow down my choices, so I get the excitement and intrigue of exploring all these options and figuring it all out. The most daunting task, though, is figuring out how to pay for anything other than the local university. I'm almost twenty years out of high school, so I looked at the Historical Undergrad Tuition Rate at Tech for a present-day comparison. Had I gone in the 96-97 school year, tuition alone would have been $2,600 for the year. Now it's close to $9,000. That's not including books or room/board (although I learned to buy textbooks on Amazon and eBay and have saved literal thousands). Tech puts a final price tag of $24k per year. Who knew learning was so expensive? I need to start a university.