This morning I drove my son into Manhattan, dropping him off in the West 50s so he could meet his friends before going to class. He was happy and excited as we drove in. All I could do was think how far we had come from this time last year.
It was almost exactly one year ago that my husband and I were blindsided when we went to pick up him up at the end of his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin. I was one of those parents who never thought my kid had any problems. He always did really well in school and he had high scores on his ACTs. He was one of those students who never had to study but still did really well.
That first year away, we thought he was at school and doing fine. We didn’t know what was going on until right before he got on the plane to come home in May. It turns out, he got behind and finished his first semester on probation, which he never told us. During the second semester, he was even further behind and never made it through.
So, he started last fall at Bergen Community College, but he stopped going to classes there too. We couldn’t figure out what was going on.
It turns out my son has anxiety. It took us a while to find the right treatment for him and once we did, his therapist suggested he go to College Re-Entry to help him get back to school.
I have to say that when she first recommended it, I was against it. It was more money and my kid had stopped going to classes several times. Why would he go to this? My son is introverted. I didn’t know if the program was going to be good for him.
After we visited and met with Jason (the director) several times, my son agreed to try it.
Once we all decided he would go, he never fought us. In fact, he had to take the bus in every day and he got there on time every day, even when the bus didn’t show he found a way to get into the city. He only missed two days the whole semester, and those were snow days.
I think it worked for him because there were a lot of other kids who were in the same situation. He had a lot of support and nobody knew each other before, so they were all in the same boat at the start of it.
How they run the program is just amazing. For my son, it really clicked when they went to the farm for a week. I could see the change. He doesn’t like to drive himself, but he drove one of the coaches to the train station in a town ten minutes away after their week on the farm, so she and some of his friends could take the train station back to the city. He was like a new person.
One of the best parts is the coaching. They are amazing. His coach has really been helping him figure out how he’s going to get back to college. She wants him to start slowly at a community college. Once he’s taken some classes there, she is going to help him apply to schools for what he wants to do.
My son is so much happier now. He has a little more confidence every day. You can hear it in his speech. He’s like a different kid. I would totally recommend this program to another parent. All of the staff is so amazing, I never really felt that I needed to follow up on anything.
Today, my son says he wants to be a math teacher and he’s spending the summer taking a few math classes as a refresher. Just amazing!