We drove down to visit the University of Waterloo yesterday, a top choice for Alex who hopes to study mathematics in a year and a half when he finishes high school. He’d been asking to start visiting universities and although perhaps it’s a little early, the experience was well worthwhile.We registered online for the regular 1:30 pm tour. We were a group of about 25 parents and students and were walked around the campus for two hours, visiting most faculties, the Student Life Centre, Physical Activities Centre, and a dorm. Our guide was an enthusiastic fourth year student who gave us a little history of the university and lots of good information about programs, admissions, and life at Waterloo. He was funny, sensible, and energetic….an excellent combination for leading around a group of people on what must have been one of the coldest, windiest days of the year. After our tour ended, we were met by a student from St. Jerome’s University which is a Catholic university federated with U Waterloo. They offer Arts and Math programs and students who register there are Waterloo students, have access to all Waterloo facilities and courses, and get a Waterloo degree, while enjoying the smaller community (inclusing residences) offered by St. Jerome’s. Our tour guide was a second year Math student and she walked us through the SJU buildings and dorms. After we were finished, we attended the 5:00 pm mass at STU, grabbed a quick dinner at a local Korean restaurant and were back in Toronto by 8:30 pm. Alex was clearly taken by his experience and enjoyed seeing the campus. I think it kind of motivated him to work harder to ensure admission, and possibly an entrance scholarship. He spent much of the evening at home half-watching a hockey game and mostly reading the brochures we’d picked up and talking with me about university life. I suddenly understood what so many moms before me have gone through: for me, yesterday’s visit enables me to very clearly picture myself and Z dropping him off at his dorm in a year and a half, feeling kind of weepy, and then returning to a quiet house with only one man-child left at home. I’ve joked a lot about how I’m looking forward to having the boys leave home, but it all seems too real now, and somehow not quite at attractive….