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what-the-ucla-college-experience-is-really-like-headerIf you ever feel that you would like to experience a privileged life, head off with your kids one weekend to college.

This past weekend we did just that, and I am convinced that I was better off not knowing the other side. I am happy for her, however the idea of thinking she was slaving away at good grades made me feel ok about the $35,000 tuition bill. After two days, I have decided that I want to be the one at college. Learning, pushing you outside of your comfort zone and bonding with your sorority sisters seems pretty good to me, even if it came with the late nights at the library. 

The first day of our LA college visit, my daughter suggested taking in a spin class, so we headed out to Soul Cycle, the latest in the rage of celebrity exercise classes. It was a star studded, high energy spin class that rocked between spin and hip-hop in Beverly Hills. Apparently they only had locations in major cities. All classes were $30, no exceptions, and all classes had long waiting lists. Usually I would have protested. However, we were on holiday. 

After our $90 spinning fun, we decided to save a few bucks and eat at the school cafeteria, even if it meant lousy food. When we arrived, the first sign something was different was the floor to ceiling windows overlooking balmy palm trees. The next was the classical music that greeted you at the entrance. This didn’t look like my old cafeteria? I grabbed my orange lunch tray (at least something was the same) and headed off to find eggs and orange juice, or a toasted bagel. What I found were menu choices that I hadn’t even experienced in five star restaurants. For a minute I thought I was being punked.  

#1) Rotisserie Pork Stacker
Rotisserie roasted pork loin drizzled with chipotle barbecue sauce served on a warm wheat bread with cabbage coleslaw.

#2) French Green Lentil Pancakes
A pillowy whole wheat pancake studies with peppery green lentils topped with pear-fennel butter. 

#3) Kale Hummus, Winter Greens and Red Quinoa Flatbread
Sauteed chard and kale, red quinoa, and mozzarella layered over kale hummus on whole-wheat flatbread. Topped with sweet spinach and mitzuna.

There were tables of the freshest fruits. The salad bar extended over 6 feet and at the end was a gal asking me if she could toss the salad with my choice of six homemade salad dressings. It blew my mind. Thinking pragmatically, the first thing I wanted to do was audit my room and board charges for the damages. What I learned was that every visit was $7.50. Rest assure, there was nothing pillowy at my cafeteria for $7.50, even 25 years ago.

Later that afternoon, we went off to our hotel where we had made reservations with our points - The Beverly Hilton. Lounging next to the pool, we relaxed and did some people watching. The man sitting two seats down apparently had something caught in his throat so he spit right next to the chair. Again I wondered if I were being punked?

That night there was a movie premier at the hotel (that explained my spitting pool mate.) My entire family, sans my husband who really didn’t care, watched as limo after limo came into the drop off zone. The camera lights flashed, the diamonds dazzled, and the lobby transformed into a Hollywood Mecca. Could this be real? Did I send my daughter to college or a Reality Show?

So the next time you are worrying about your kids at school, don’t. Chances are they are doing better than you ever thought possible. If they do call, just tell them you would be more than happy to be on the next flight out. The problem was whether or not you would ever go back.

For more stories with Wendy visit her website at www.lifewithwendy.com

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