I find myself oddly ambivalent after spending a good amount of time around a young person as together as the one who left my home a few hours ago. To ensure you hang in there, let me say up front the churlish and wistful part is confined to the next paragraph and that paragraph will be shorter than the others.
How did I miss the boat so badly when I was an undergraduate? Did a relatively normal life with my family of origin lull me into cluelessness from the ages of 18-21? Is there any truth to the conventional wisdom postulating that young men mature later than young women? If so, is it too late to turn in my gender card?
She is so poised, so articulate, so focused, so self-aware, so open. (I lied about the first paragraph having all the wistfulness - How the hell did I get so closed off when I was young? OK, I'm really done now). She knows where she is headed and is unafraid to ask for help and to be mentored. She is willing to re-locate despite the insularity of her childhood. She has already applied to several prestigious Graduate schools and is searching the country for summer internships to do after she receives her BS in May. She's speaking of her Doctorate as a foregone conclusion.
I seem to be surrounded by young people like this. Two of my own young adult nieces and my wife's youngest niece already have Graduate degrees; one of her other nieces is in Medical School. My daughter is focused and remarkably resilient in a field where every single day rejection is the default; only one person gets any role auditioned for. And that whole "call back" thing in the acting profession is monstrous, harder than what I went through as a young aspiring musician. At least I heard "no" just one time from the same person or people. I'm thrilled to have these young women in my life because even though my ship sailed long ago, I'm now on board with them. Their drive and willingness to put themselves on the line can only make me better.