For parents, graduation is a bitter-sweet time filled with angst and second-guesses, particularly if it appears that you won't be out of the house before the contractor is scheduled to demolish your room in order to finish the new Jacuzzi by July 4.




Don't get me wrong. Your parents will always have a place for you at home. It's just that, after the remodel, that place will have to be in one of the utility closets.




To help with this important transition, a lot of parents put together a "survival" package containing things like pots and pans, utensils, toiletries, dishes, tools &

things from home that 1) you'll find familiar and comforting in your new life, and 2) they've been waiting to unload on you for years so they can buy all new stuff. To protect yourself, take careful inventory of this "survival" package before you accept it. Any small appliance &

such as a toaster, blender or hot plate &

that was made before standard outlets were introduced should be refused. The same goes for any "family heirlooms" that you've never seen before, but that your parents insist you loved as a child. In many cases, these items were never in your home to begin with, and are actually the result of an exchange program established by other parents of graduating seniors who are also trying to get rid of stuff they don't want.




The reason for this is simple: All parents know that whatever you leave behind after graduation will likely remain in the attic or garage until the reading of their wills. Because of this, they will stop at nothing to make sure you are accompanied on your journey by that 70-pound ceramic pterodactyl you made in fifth grade, as well as any other belongings that won't readily ignite should the garage be consumed in a "freak" inferno.




But, let's assume you manage to escape from home in anything smaller than a 27-foot moving van. Your next step as a graduate will be to settle into your new surroundings. For guys, this is a relatively simple process involving:




A nap.




And that's pretty much it.




Girls, on the other hand, tend to unpack as though each box contains a timed explosive device. If not stopped, each will detonate into a mushroom cloud of underpants revealing their true waist size to everyone within a three-block radius.




To complicate matters, many of you will also have a roommate your first year in college. It will probably be someone you've never met before, but whom you can rest assured has been carefully screened and, based on compatibility, specifically chosen as the perfect roommate. You will never actually meet this person of course, and will instead share a room with someone you once saw in a David Lynch movie. But that's all part of the college experience, which is aimed at preparing you for life.




(Or a life sentence, depending on how the whole roommate thing goes.)




Once you're settled, it's time to focus in on what you came to college for:




An education.




Okay. Fine.




Let's just be honest and admit that you chose a college based on which website had the best looking students playing volleyball in the fall leaves. Every college website has one of these photos, along with pictures of young, chiseled teachers lecturing before 300-seat-capacity halls filled with super models.




Warning: This is not real life! You will not find a lecture hall filled with 300 super models. In fact, your first semester, you'll be lucky if you find the lecture hall at all.




And even when you do find it, chances are you'll be sitting next to your roommate.




That said, I wish all of this year's graduates the best of luck as they embark into the world with stars in their eyes and dreams in their hearts &

and, if they weren't quick enough, a 70-pound ceramic pterodactyl.




You can write to at nhickson@oregonfast.net, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439.