Call it what you will, but for many parents, sending a child to college sometimes signals the beginning of a long-distance relationship.
Maybe even a bout with empty-nest syndrome.
But for David Sikora, and his daughter, Alexa, the college years actually drew them closer.
On Saturday, David will graduate from Florida State University’s College of Business with his doctorate in management. And at the same afternoon commencement ceremony, Alexa will graduate with her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Florida State’s College of Education.
“At the time when most parents are sending their kids off to college, I was fortunate that even though she lived on campus, I was still able to see Ally go through a real growth experience in her life,” said David, who, four years ago, was looking at prospective graduate schools at the same time as his daughter was looking at undergraduate programs.
What started out as a routine college visit, he recalled, quickly turned serendipitous. Both David and Alexa fell in love with Florida State.
Both applied and both were admitted.
That left the Sikoras with little choice: In 2008, the entire family decided to move from Palm Harbor, Fla., to Tallahassee so that David and Alexa could attend Florida State at the same time.
Both father and daughter enjoyed the quirks — and benefits — of attending the same university.
“We shared tips on things like where to park, using Blackboard,” David said. “And when I started teaching at FSU, Alexa provided me with great advice about how students might react to certain assignments I was considering. She was always a good reality check!”
Alexa liked how involved her whole family became with the university.
“My parents, sister, and I have all gone to lots of football games, shows in the School of Theatre, the circus and other campus events,” she said.
Father and daughter both say that they have enjoyed the four years they shared together on the university’s campus and are looking forward to their graduation pictures in their caps and gowns in front of the Westcott fountain.
After graduation, David will begin a job as a management professor at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, where he will focus his research and teaching on human resources and organizational behavior issues.
Alexa hopes to find a teaching position at an elementary school in Tallahassee.
David’s wife (and Alexa’s mother), Wendy Sikora, said she was happy to see her family succeed and grow at Florida State.
“I really enjoy living in Tallahassee. FSU is a wonderful university, and the area is full of natural beauty,” she said, adding that, “You just never know where life will take you next.
The Sikoras will continue their legacy at Florida State when a third member of the family, Kristen Sikora, starts her freshman year in the fall.