March 27th 2014

adolescent adulation

Comments: 11 Topics: ,

I’m the proud dad of a sixteen year old girl. She’s also a high school junior. This week I’m spending her Spring Break, not by swatting away teen boys at a Florida beach, but by touring potential colleges.
 While car tripping up the Southeast coast, my wife and I have become decidedly amused by the college tours. As a matter of fact, our eye rolling is beginning to rival our daughter’s. We’re of the age where we were thrown by our parents into college with the old-tried-and-true-sink-or-swim method.  Welcome to the university of hard knocks!  These days (I feel old even typing that), colleges feature coddling amenities that rival posh country clubs or four star hotels.  Cafeterias boast vegan bars, helpful personal advisors are around every corner and dorms are outfitted with appliances per your pre-arrival on-line request. Hundreds of clubs and “interest groups” exist to make sure your little darling feels involved and comfortable. I’ve learned about classes ranging from Harry Potter studies to artisinal chocolate tasting. And, if all this becomes too stressful, there are therapists on staff to help your child deal with the pressures of college life.

I suppose times have changed.  In general, our generation has grown up more privileged than our parents and we expect we’ll pass it on.  As a result, the little ones have been offered a lot during their short stint thus far on the planet.  Whether that’s better or not I’ll not get into, because this is a blog about design, not sociological implications in current culture. Therefore, before this post wades too deep, I’m sharing some of the kids’ rooms we’ve had fun designing.  Sometimes our smaller clients offer the bigger challenges.

Now, I’m off to tour another college yoga studio.




Greg Tankersley for McAlpine Tankersley


  1. Jan says:

    Ah, Greg, how this made me smile. And nod, when I read “welcome to the school of hard knocks.”
    Wait until you see what she will pack for her (posh) college dorm!
    Enjoy the experience. It’s part of learning how to let go. At least it was for me.


  2. I am the proud parent of two “kids” in their thirties. I marvelled at the luxuries available then…thank you for this hilarious post…it can only get worse!!

  3. Andy Akard says:

    Great post. I will call you in a week or so to catch up.

  4. theresa moore says:

    lol. We must have toured the same schools! Yes, Harry Potter Studies is a class. Thank you for putting into words exactly what we felt several years ago as we toured schools with our daughter. She graduates this May. Now real life begins……

  5. Susan says:

    Reading your post immediately made me think of the old SNL skit of Dana Carvey as The Grumpy Old Man. The more things change, the more they stay the same, I suppose!
    Hope this 2:30 link posts.

  6. Lisa Mende says:

    I think it is ridiculous too Greg. I will say that the public in state universities are so much that way here in North Carolina but the private schools are. There private schools that have 5 star restaurants with chefs so that the students can learn how to order and maintain manners in that atmosphere. If you ask me it seems more like a finishing school than a college. That seems like something we should be teaching our children at home. The same school has maids for the dorm rooms which look like apartments nicer than most homes. My son was even embarrassed about it which is a good sign. Good Luck!

  7. Bonnie Pineau says:

    Well said.

  8. Moe Draz says:

    I hope you consider the College of Charleston. Great school in one of the most beautiful cities. Your firm does incredible work. Love your blog.

  9. Willow Decor says:

    I also have a sixteen year old junior girl and we spent the week touring colleges. We were also surprised by the country club atmospheres. One school had beautiful outdoor fireplaces and teak furniture for the kids to commune which rivaled any five star hotel. Perhaps we were on the same tours? My favorite was the college with the study abroad program in France. Each day the kids visit a gourmet resturant and write a review, this fulfills one of your english credits. What I wouldn’t do to be 18 again!

  10. Anne says:

    Yes, I agree! As the mom of a rising senior and junior, we have toured many of our NC schools and others. Sounds like several here have toured HPU and and shared our same sentiment!

  11. Tom green says:

    Oh to be back in college.

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