It’s downhill from here

It was a week ago that we loaded up the car – good thing Steve has a roomy xTerra and not a Mini Cooper – with six boxes, two suitcases and a trash bag full of the stuff that Jennifer Lynn determined was essential for beginning college life at Pepperdine.

Fortunately, we were able to arrive the day before “Move In Day” so Jennifer could scope out the campus – which she had never set foot on – before it was swarming with overwhelmed freshman and their anxious parents. Based on the campus setting alone, Jennifer is one lucky – make that blessed – girl to be able to go to school there. It has an absolutely spectacular location – just up the road from the Pacific Coast Highway overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Malibu. We bought lunch in the cafeteria and ate on the terrace enjoying the warm breeze and beautiful vista.

I left the campus smitten with the setting but dreading the actual move-in process the next day. I envisioned a line of cars creeping up Pacific Coast Highway, slowly making their way past the security gate and then finding the parking lot closest to the dorms totally full. That’s when the hillside setting was going to turn to a liability because going anywhere on the campus involves at least 500 steps straight up. Steve dubbed it “StairMaster U.” Jennifer’s favorite hardback Harry Potter novels and free weights that she packed? They might just have to make the return trip home to Northern California.

However my fears were unfounded. On Move In Day, we breezed onto campus, briefly stopped at security for a Visitors Pass and then proceeded to a parking lot where we were greeted by a swarm of the orange-shirted leadership students pointing Jennifer in the direction of where to pick up her lanyard and where to get her student ID photo taken. There was no line of waiting students at either table.

From there, we were told to get back in our car and follow the winding road up to Jennifer’s dorm. About every 500 feet, another group of kids in orange shirts cheered their welcome to Pepperdine while Jennifer tried to not look too embarrassed in the back seat.

And here’s the best part:  when we arrived at Jennifer’s housing unit, the orange locusts descended upon our car and carried every box – and  practically every other item in the car that wasn’t nailed down – into her room. It didn’t even need to wear my sensible shoes; the helpful orange-aides took care of everything!

The efficient organization of the school continued for another two days of parent orientation activities and through the week for the incoming freshman. The program was structured without feeling like we were in boot camp.

Was it hard to say goodbye to Jennifer? A little but made much easier by knowing that she is in a great place and I’m not just talking about the view.

More to follow.

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