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Senior moments: Two words on life from a college freshman
Rich DeLong

A few weeks ago our family gathered together for Parents Day at Georgia Southern University. Our youngest daughter, Sydney, just finished her freshman year and we were celebrating the occasion.

Seems like we celebrate just about anything and everything nowadays — and I guess with good reason — life is short! Why not celebrate as much as you can?

The fact that she “made it through” her first year away from home and her grades were very acceptable by her parents’ standards is certainly an accomplishment.

I still remember her preschool graduation and how proud we were to see that little cap and gown on our 4-year-old. Celebrating the little achievements along the path of life gives all of us a sense of accomplishment — and that’s a good thing for sure.

As we gathered at her dormitory room to pick her up for a function that evening, I noticed a few things, as most fathers do, that I thought might need a little attention.

I’ve never been short on giving advice, so why stop now? In some ways I figure it is my parental duty to make sure I point out things, albeit in a positive way, to help my child become a better person and a productive adult in life.

Little things like keeping your car clean and making sure it has gas is good advice, right? And keeping your toilet bowl from getting that nasty ring around the inside certainly makes sense. How about getting enough sleep each night? You know we all have a challenge with that; but college students seem to always be tired.

So after my five minutes of fatherly advice, my little scholar looks at me and says, “Two words dad: college …”.

I waited about seven seconds for the second word but it never came out. I thought to myself, “Did I miss the second word?” I know my kids have been saying I need hearing aids, but I never even saw her mouth move again. No, I’m pretty sure she only said one word.

Then I thought, “Maybe that is the new English they are teaching in college, you know like new math where one plus one does not really equal two — I could never figure that one out. But I’m not that good at math anyway, and apparently English is now hot on my list as well.”

So after staring in somewhat anticipation of the second word to come out of her mouth, I said, “That’s only one word.” To which her reply was, “I know.”

I know?! What kind of reply is that? I imagine I am supposed to guess the second word. Or maybe it’s one of those new college games — if you say a certain word you have to do something that makes you look really stupid or you get a noogie — or something like that.

No, there must be more to this. I have got to find out what that second word is that should be coming out of her mouth. College what? Then, finally she said it. “Life!”

“I meant to say college life,” she said kind of sheepishly. Apparently what she was trying to indicate is that college life is hard and challenging. The professors keep you busy and your friends keep you even busier. There’s only so much time in a day and something has to give.

I get that.

The fact is college life is hard and starting out on your own ain’t always easy. So I looked at her and said, “Don’t worry baby, I have two words for you, keep trying!”

Nothing worth having comes easy, my friends.

Rich DeLong, former Richmond Hill resident, is the North Florida Division director for the senior living management company SRIM. Reach him at

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