What is a future, and where can I get one?

No but seriously – I’m very much lost when it comes to my future. Today, my mom asked me to come watch something in her room. Given the last thing she showed me was a video of a baby otter learning to swim, I was willing to submit. Instead, she showed me an ABC feature on college admissions.

My entire life has been geared towards my future, and more importantly, college. My parents sent me to a specific preschool because it had a high matriculation to the special elementary school I attended, which had an even higher matriculation to the prestigious middle and high school I then went to. This high school is world-renowned for its spectacular college matriculation – the reason my mother was so intent on me attending. I was so absorbed with college from a young age that I didn’t even think of what comes afterwards.

Now at a different kind of school, I am faced with a shocking change of attitude. Where I am now, college is not the main focus. It is mentioned occasionally during meetings, but the announcements are geared towards seniors, seldom juniors, and almost never sophomores or freshmen. Although I know this is the norm through most schools, I can’t help but feel lost, and even insecure.

When I went to my old school, all of the focus on college was basically done for me. College was a given – everyone thought about it all the time. It was such a recitation that I didn’t even really think about it. But here, I have to independently think about my own future without anyone prompting me. That’s the strange part that I am not used to, and it’s where the trepidation comes in.

Before now, I never thought about what I want to go to college for, and what I want to do after. It’s such a classic teenage cliché – “Where am I going, what am I doing?” I’ve never really thought about it until now, and I’m really at a loss. I have no idea what I want to do when I’m older – be a writer maybe, but of course, that’s a tough choice. Whenever I say this when people ask, they laugh in my face. I guess I don’t really know where I’m going.

All these new concerns have arisen now because someone very close to me is going through the college process, and is feeling a bit of what I’m feeling – second guessing their given goals and really thinking about the future. I want to get a head start on these decisions, so I’m not as stressed out later. But that is a curse as well as a blessing, because I am feeling the senior stress now as a sophomore.

I can masterfully edit a college essay so it fits exactly what a classic admissions officer is looking for, I can recite the top 10 schools in the world, and I can rattle off expected SAT scores and the times and number of questions in every section of the test. What I can’t do, however, is figure out what I want. And that’s something that I really should know by now. Maybe the constant college preparation hasn’t aided me, it has just brainwashed me. I can help everyone else think about college and prepare, but I can’t help myself.

 

Photo Credit:  Wikimedia

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