Freshman Daughter, Freshman Dad

By Larry Druckenbrod

As his only child embarks on her collegiate journey, a freshman parent chronicles the experience—40 years on from his own days as a college freshman. Larry Druckenbrod is also assistant director of Career Services.

I don’t want to go to UConn!

The Husky

Valkyrie was born on the third day of my employment at UConn.  She first set carriage on campus a month later, and has been coming ever since.  She loved it when the volley ball team threw People’s Bank balls into the crowd.  She won cash from a fan sitting next to her at Gampel when she knew Swin Cash’s name.  She’s been a judge at the lip sync homecoming event twice.  When UConn football resumed its schedule after 9/11, she sat in the stands with me at Memorial Field and watched the Huskies win or lose to Buffalo, I can’t remember.  She was eight when the towers fell, and ten years cannot begin to remove the horror we all felt that September.

She’s been a husky all her life, but last November this was not such a good thing.  Her friends were traveling around the country visiting colleges.  Valkyrie visited none.  It was always part of the plan that she would go to UConn.  My plan apparently, not hers.  “I don’t want to go to UConn”  she informed me.  “What?” I said.  “I don’t want to go to UConn” she repeated, as if I hadn’t really heard her the first time. “Why not?”  “It’s in the middle of nowhere and there’s nothing to do but look at cows” she said.  I decided that this was not the time to discuss the history of land grant colleges.
I’ve worked at two, and if you think Storrs is nowhere, live in State College, Pennsylvania for five years. State College however is a great college town, it’s just far from everything if you like the city.  Thus the rationale of the land grant college, put’em where there ain’t no distractions.

PSU Nittany Lion

“That’s why you don’t want to go to UConn, because it’s in the middle of nowhere?” I asked.  “Where’s somewhere?”  “The City, dad, I want to live in the City.”  “You want to live in Hartford?” I couldn’t resist saying.  “New York dad, you know what I’m talking about.”

“Ok, so really, why don’t you want to go to UConn?” I asked again, hesitantly. “I don’t want to see everyone from high school, everyone’s going to UConn except my best friends”  she said as her big brown daddy slaying eyes welled up.

“Where are your best friends going?” I asked.  “Superlative is going to Amherst, Dynamic is going to Notre Dame, Outstanding is going to Virginia, and Motormouth is going to Dartmouth” she pointed out.

“So, you don’t want to go to UConn because your best friends arn’t going to UConn?” I asked delicately, knowing there had to be more to this story than met the lie.  “I got accepted at Manhattan College” she said, with a bit of pride if I remember.  “Really. Manhattan College, there’s a college called Manhattan College?” I asked.

“Dad, I don’t want to run into you every day!” and she burst
into tears, big apple tears.

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