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Going away to college brings mixed emotions to family

In September, the Laber family's home in Ironton will be a little quieter -- and Jane Laber doesn't exactly know how she will handle it.

Jane's son, Christopher A. Laber, will leave Sept. 20 for the University of Cincinnati. The St. Joseph High School valedictorian will be a chemical engineering major. He will be one of many Lawrence County 2003 high school graduates to go away to college.

"It's going to be a change," he said. "I'm going to be living with three people I've never met in my life. I'll be in a larger city with a larger diversity of people."

Even though he and his 14-year-old brother Jared have their own rooms at his family's home, the lost privacy in the UC dormitory does not concern him because he is not the type to stay in his room all day, he said.

Right now, living in a larger city is not something that concerns him much either. He will not bring a car to college, so Cincinnati's winding highways are not a concern.

"I don't know if I'll be scared. I may just be lost for a little bit," he said.

Christopher A. Laber's father Christopher M. Laber is pleased that his son is going to Cincinnati because he does not believe he will have the same opportunities here. His son will have the chance to do co-op work with different companies, and those companies usually hire the students.

"He'll be better off," Jane Laber said. "He'll have more opportunities than he had here. We'll be going to visit on Oct. 4, on parents' weekend."

Until then, the family has been shopping for long dormitory bed sheets, refrigerators and a computer. Christopher A. Laber will probably have to buy several supplies after he starts school.

His parents, who have both attended college themselves, have also given their son pointers about what he will face this fall.

"They're not going to baby you," Jane Laber said.

Christopher A. Laber does not know what he will do when he comes back to visit or how often he will get to do so, but he predicts that he will have a lawn to mow.