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Cam Marston on UA's Bama Bound

On this week’s Keepin’ It Real, Cam Marston was at Bama Bound in Tuscaloosa for his son’s college orientation this week, and here is his review.

I am oriented. It’s official. My wife, my son, and I spent a day and a half in Tuscaloosa this week at Bama Bound, the school’s orientation for students and parents. Roll Tide! Or as my wife says, “Rowl Tihhhdee, yall.” We heard a lot of that these past few days. I attended out of curiosity to see what a parent’s college orientation includes. Here’s my review, and since this commentary broadcasts from the University of Alabama, if you’re hearing it, it cleared the censors:

First, the director of campus security assured us there are many ways our cherub-like son could get arrested. He listed them all. There is no shortage. One included domestic violence from parents and children fist fighting on move-in day due to disagreements over dorm décor. Apparently, it’s happened. I’ll need to remember that in August when we move him in.

Next, there are 687 different student organizations including ones for watching Disney movies together and another made up of guys who gather solely to discuss trucks. “Rahwl Tidde.”

At one point in the business school session with my son, I suggested that this degree sure sounds like a lot of work, and maybe we should just go to the bookstore and buy a degree. He shook his head, rolled his eyes.

I learned I must get my son’s permission to see his grades and to see where he’s spending our money. As the parent, the bill payer, the bailer-outer, the “hey, what’s going on at school-er”, I’m not allowed to see his grades or how our money is being spent without his permission due to privacy laws.

In a parent’s only session, we had a group of students there to take any random questions we had. The room had some super-moms and “Karens” and some super-dads, and we’ll call them “Darrens.” Super Karens and Super Darrens ran the show. They asked questions that I had never considered. We had to cut the session short. Suffice it to say that there are parents leaving no part of their children’s college experience for the children to enjoy or figure out on their own.

There is a part of me that wants to know where my son is and what he’s doing when he heads off to Tuscaloosa in August. There is another part that wants him to discover much of it on his own - for him to solve some problems and tell me about them when he comes home. So, somewhere between knowing everything and knowing nothing may be the Goldilocks zone -may be just right.

Leaving the event, I stopped in the campus bookstore. There is nothing on God’s green planet that cannot be branded with an Alabama logo. At the register in a big cardboard bin were blank diplomas and a Sharpie marker. I now have a Doctorate in Average Parenting and he has a double MBA with a concentration in College Football, all for forty bucks. I’m going to display mine in my office and hold his until he gets that other degree in, I hope, four-ish years. (just kidding, by the way).

I’m Cam Marston, and I’m just Keepin’ It Real. Rahl Tyde, Ya’ll!

Cam Marston is the Keepin' It Real host for Alabama Public Radio.