As I approach my senior year, the college search before me often seems daunting. Good thing I have my family with me. Yes, I dared to do what most teenagers would never dare to do: I asked my parents for help.
Their help materialized in the form of a four day long college ‘shopping’ expedition. From July seventeenth to the twentieth, the road was home to my parents and myself while traveling over 1,100 miles through six states. We drove for nearly twenty-one hours on superhighways, back country roads and everything in between, experiencing occasional downpours, brilliant sunshine, whipping winds and the inevitable traffic.
Traveling to both the very familiar and the completely unknown, the trip was a challenging one, especially for a family that does not travel much, so we each had our own job: my father as the driver, myself as the navigator and my mother as the lookout. Although it all could have gone awry on so many occasions, instead, it turned out to be possibly the most influential trip I will ever experience. As the digital clock announced the arrival of six o’clock on the morning of the seventeenth, my parents and I left the driveway, beginning our journey.
After a little less than three hours of traveling, which I groggily remember, we arrived at our first destination: Wesleyan University. We took a tour and picked up some literature on the school, excited to have started our trip off well by arriving on time and without getting too lost. Now, I was awake.
On to our next stop: Connecticut College. There, we enjoyed an information session and a tour on their gorgeous national arboretum of a campus. We had made it through our first day’s worth of colleges and could return to the familiar routes towards Fairfield, Connecticut where we were headed to visit my grandparents.
After a short one day stay, the Celona family once again begrudgingly awoke just as a shallow semi-circle of sun became visible. We made our way towards Philadelphia, circling the city itself on Route 476. As we passed the exit for my brother’s college, I could feel the excitement building as we veered from the customary route and neared the next stop of the trip.
Our time at Swarthmore College, lovely and traditionally collegiate with sprawling greens and stone buildings, finished seemingly almost before it began. Time was tight between this engagement and the next, so off we sped. After another hour of successful navigation, we found ourselves in front of Muhlenberg College where we soaked up more college information.
The busy schedule of the morning behind us, my mom had the idea of checking out the local flavor of the area which landed us in the largest farmer’s market I had ever encountered. Laden with treats, my parents and I hopped in the car and headed north for the next state. Though we had never been to this part of New York before, we managed to find our way to our hotel in Binghamton, only to set off again the next morning going even farther north.
This turned out to be the most tedious section of our journey, though also one of the most gorgeous. We followed the twisting and winding of Route 12, enjoying the beauty of the mountains and quaint country towns the whole way, until we reached Hamilton College. On the next part of our trip, we encountered bigger highways, but unpleasant weather. Luckily, the rain did not follow us to Saratoga Springs and we found our tour of Skidmore College quite enjoyable. We had planned to spend an extra day in the area, but all agreed we needed our own beds that night. A five hour car ride later, my eyes fell upon 63 Moses Carr Road; our journey had come to its completion. There is no doubt our trip was a successful one. We learned so much, not just about the places we visited, but about our family like how well we work as a team, the fact that we are not morning people and how we should have written everything down immediately to aid our faulty memories. It is such a surreal feeling to know I might have just walked across the campus that will be my home for four of the most important years of my life. Although that choice is not made yet, one thing is for sure: I am glad I experienced this trip with my family.
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