College Talk: Too Much Too Fast

Annie Roske, Managing Editor

Archie Babinec-Thompson

I turned 16 three months ago, I got my driver’s license two months ago, I have never driven on the freeway alone, and I am already expected to know where I want to go to college.

I’m familiar with college; the difference between minoring and majoring in a subject, the importance of the starting salary of a career, the whole young adult phenomenon. I’ve known about it since I was 11 and my oldest brother started applying to schools.

I used to envy him. I admired the decision process, the excitement of the future, and the concept of living with people that aren’t my parents. I used to think college was thrilling and inspiring, but it was always in the future. Now that high school Juniors and Seniors nationwide are looking college in the eye, the future only seems dreadful and taxing.

Kids, by nature, often fantasize about various futures and unrealistic career choices (what third grader didn’t want to be in the NBA?) As they got older, the phases became fewer and farther between, as well as more realistic and consistent. Though there are less of them, we all still go through chapters of our lives where we see our futures differently. Some days, I see my future as a nurse, other days a Phycologist or a Dietitian, which is okay, right? Because I’m still young and have time to figure it out.

The dilemma is the college-career connection. The truth is, as a junior, I’m not too far away from deciding which school I go to, what subject I major in, and what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. My biggest fear, the most alarming part of my future, is that I will turn what is a phase into a lifetime commitment. What if I declare my major as nursing, but a year later I decide I want to be a lawyer? My life has been set back by at least two semesters of school. This is a fear that far too many people experience, and it’s not a coincidence that this pattern occurs. It occurs because we, as teenagers, are too young to make these decisions.

I’m not suggesting that there is something fundamentally wrong with the college choice process, though maybe there is, I’m simply bringing light to the unrealistic expectations my peers and myself are held to. The expectation being, knowing what the rest of your life will look like at the age of 18. When you boil the process down, that is what we are being asked to do, however nobody expresses any concern when the tradition goes by the alias “college decision process.”  At the end of the day, there is no substantial change that can be made, but as a community we need to remember the importance of being honest with ourselves, having empathy for others, and practicing what Pitbull preaches; “for everybody going through tough times, believe me, been there, done that, but every day above ground is a great day, remember that.”