From Novice to Expert and Back Again

It was about six years ago. My daughter was about to leave for college on the West Coast. We were at a goodbye dinner with my college friend, Claire and her daughter Rachel hosted by Marie, Claire’s mom and my former boss. As the meal wound down, Marie invited us into the living room. There she began to what only can be described as “hold forth.”

You’re about to start a great adventure, she ostensibly told my daughter, but her tone included all of us. You are leaving high school. Right now you are an expert in high school. You know all the people, all the rules, all the ways to get around and get by. You know these things so well, you don’t even know you know them.

When you get to your new school, you will be a novice. You won’t know anyone. You won’t know where to go or what the rules are. You will make mistakes. The simplest things will seem hard. You will get frustrated. You’ll get scared. You’ll be angry with yourself. Things will feel wrong. You’ll worry this is a sign you made the wrong choice. You’ll think you chose the wrong school or you shouldn’t have moved so far away.

It’s not true. Continue reading