To Be the Parent of a Franklinite
some snapshots of my mom + me on our latest adventures
Please excuse the short hiatus in my blogging, I promise there was a reason. In fact, it just might be the best reason ever: my parents were in town!! We had an incredible ten days together with a weekend in Paris, France + a few days in Lugano + the next weekend in Cinque Terre, Italy. It was their first time visiting me at Franklin and also their first time in Switzerland/Italy! I still am in awe of how spectacular our trip was! I only missed two days of class total (worth it!) and was left with memories that will truly last a lifetime! But never fear, I will save most of that sapppy stuff for my personal blog. So without further adieu let me introduce you to my mother!
Meet Amy Oglesby. Mother extraordinaire. Just to give you a little background; I am the oldest of nine children (the youngest is seven years old), my family currently resides in Salt Lake City and my mom is too modest to admit it, but she is pretty much Super Mom. Proof: while she was here visiting me we had to hire four different people to take over her duties around the home. Between babysitting, driving, organizing, cleaning, and cooking it takes a fleet to do what she does on her own! She is happily married to my father who is an OBGYN and surgeon at Salt Lake Regional Hospital. My parents are both highly intelligent, hard workers, and have been incredibly supportive in my decision to attend Franklin College Switzerland. That being said, today I wanted to share with you a different perspective on the Franklin experience... So I interviewed my mom and here is what she has to say about being a Franklin parent!!
AN INTERVIEW WITH MY MOTHER
AN INTERVIEW WITH MY MOTHER
What was your first thought when I told you that I wanted to go to a university in Switzerland?
Well there goes my money and my daughter... probably never see either of them again. (laughter)
But really, I was in disbelief. As I heard more about the travel, the location, the opportunities, I actually became a bit skeptical. Franklin seemed too good to be true! But after a little investigative work I was reassured of its credentials and open to the idea. For a while my primary concern was that it would be a great travel opportunity, but a subpar education. Fortunately, over the months leading up to your orientation I had the chance to speak with several alumni, current students and current parents who assured me it was in fact a real university AND a really good education. Ultimately though, committing to Franklin was kind of a leap of faith. I reasoned that we should at least give it a shot and I am so glad we did! It has turned out to be an even better experience than I thought possible!
Once we made the decision for me to attend Franklin what we were some of your concerns?Staying in contact!! I had so many worries/concerns/questions like, how to fit a year's worth of needs into two suitcases? if you needed something how would you get it? What if you get sick? Would it be difficult to live somewhere that speaks a foreign language? How will you get food? Would you make new friends right away? Would you have a support system in place? But I also think these are concerns that nearly ever college parent has for their child whether they are an hour away or a continent away.
What are the best ways you have found to keep in touch?Skype credit! For us it has the best reception and is worth the pennies it takes to make a voice call from your computer to my cell phone. For messaging we love using the iphone application WhatsApp and for video calling we use Skype. Plus, Facebook and email are great too.
What is the hardest part about having a student at Franklin?The physical distance. Which can lead to a delay in communication whether it be time change constraints on Skyping or the travel time it takes to get mail from home to you.
The best part?Honestly, the best part is living vicariously through you. I will never have the opportunity to travel everywhere you are going and I love hearing about the stories, architecture, landscape, and culture of all the places you visit. Both academic travel and independent travel are fun but can be so meaningful. I love learning about the world and seeing it through your eyes as you have these experiences.
I know that you were excited but were you also concerned in some ways about my return home over that first winter break?Having not been a seasoned traveler myself, I was worried that — after the excitement of living abroad, being in new places, always traveling and experiencing different cultures — being home would be too boring for you. I worried that you would want to leave after a week at home. I was pleasantly surprised to find that you were content to be home for a month. Now, after traveling to visit you, I can understand how the comforts of home are sometimes just as appealing as an adventure.
Did you notice a change in me from August to December (1st semester) of my freshmen year?Yes. I definitely felt like you had matured over that time period a lot and that you had a lot more confidence and self esteem.
Was dropping me off at the airport in January (after winter break) easier than dropping me off for the first time the previous August?Yes! there wasn't the anticipation of will she ever want to come back? I was reassured by the knowledge that we had already made it through a few months apart and I knew we could handle it a second time.
Has it been a different experience for you between my 1st year and 2nd year?Definitely. You were a lot more relaxed about going back this August vs. your first trip to Switzerland in August of 2012. There was less worrying and less anxiety. You knew Franklin. It was like returning to your second home, instead of a brand new unknown. In short: it was a lot easier. You knew what to pack and what to expect. We had ironed out a lot of the kinks in communication and it was just falling back into our routine.
+ background: my twin brother attends Pomona College in Southern California +
How would you compare the experience of having a child attend college out of the state vs out of the country?Well obviously you don't have the same luxury of returning home on long weekends a few times a semester. But, I feel that your opportunities for academic travel and independent travel outweigh the experience of returning home. The time zone difference is a challenge, but we have both made a concerted effort to work with the hours that are available to us. Yes, the 8 hour time change limits our communication time options. But we seem to make it work. I talk to both of you regularly, the only difference is the method of communication (ie: texting him, WhatsApp-ing you)
How was it coming to visit me and Lugano?It was probably the best experience I have ever had. Now when you talk on Skype about your dorm, the Grotto, the campus. I can visualize it all! It provided a great opportunity to see the campus for myself but also the town of Lugano. I think it is safe to say that it is a pretty indescribable city! I was taken off guard by its stunning beauty. The landscape, the architecture, just the beauty of all of it is so impressive. Plus, I now know what it means to walk uphill from downtown.. I am really impressed with how steep those hills are! Overall, I found the people to be friendly, kind, and helpful. Lugano is a place where I think I could contently explore on my own for a long time.
How was the timing of the trip (visiting during my 2nd year instead of my 1st)?I think us not visiting until your second year was perfect and I wouldn't have done it any other way. Because by this year you were able to really guide us around the city, explain your favorite spots, and show us your everyday experience as you have adjusted comfortably to life in Lugano. We got to excitedly be tourists in your "normal". Also, the weather in September was beautiful! Highly recommend it.
Any last tips or words of advice for other parents?This opportunity to attend Franklin is a once in a lifetime opportunity and every parent should remind their student of it. This is a unique season in your life, the window of opportunity to attain a university education in a foreign country is small. Remind them when they are in school they are there to learn, not wish away the hours. When they are traveling, they should be enjoying travel instead of missing home. Also, take it a semester at a time. Four months doesn't last forever. Basically, I would encourage all students to take full advantage of everything at Franklin. And I would hope that all Franklin parents know what a beautiful gift they have given to their children by allowing them to attend such a unique school.
Thank you mom for your thoughts and thank you readers for following along!