My parents have continuously implanted this thought in my mind. Still, I have my doubts about these “best years.”
Why am I rushing to put them behind me?
Five generations of iPhones will testify that reaching the next step has never been of greater importance. And why shouldn’t it be? Progress is a necessity. Preparations must be made for the future. Life requires planning.
Unfortunately, planning often obstructs life.
When I one day reminisce on my time as a Lancer, I don’t want the stress of completing the Common Application to be my strongest memory. What about the thrill of sprinting a straightaway during a cross country race, or the excitement of a Homecoming dance?
These are the best years of my life, so it is time I gave them more attention.
Don’t Worry—Be Happy
Wait ‘til the last minute, because then it only takes a minute.
The statement’s origin is foggy, yet to me its meaning is clear. I don’t view it as a call to procrastinate; instead, I hear its cry to not worry. AHAP summer homework was much less overwhelming when I decided to store it in the back of my closet and in the back of my mind. Procrastination was not the key for this relief, though, for I planned to allow one week for the assignment. The key in fact was not worrying; with a clear mind I was able to take the homework head on the last week of summer.
Planning is tiresome—another premature decision to make, another note in the planner, another “to-do.” Subtle threats often accompany this planning, and the resulting stress is completely avoidable. The average high school teen has already witnessed proof of this.
Every assignment did not have to be completed in cursive in fifth grade. The schedule change from elementary to middle school was not overwhelming; rather, it was as smooth as marble tile. Teachers did not assign five hours of homework per night freshman year.
From these experiences, I now can laugh at these threats as they pop up in my life. I only assume that the English senior paper will not in fact consume my life.
We have been bred for the next step in life from the moment we took our first breaths, but that does not have to insure our future nervous breakdowns.
College Should Wait
Why do I feel like I’ve overstayed my welcome?
I spent nine years preparing for high school, and now East has a firm hand on my shoulder as it pushes me out the double doors. College Now, AP classes, application assemblies, College Clinic—the hints to leave are unmistakable.
I understand that East’s aim is well intentioned. I would be lost without the support of the counselors and teachers who work hard to prepare me for college. However, the giant mass of pamphlets, emails, ACT and SAT tests, College Now, AP tests, financial aid, scholarship forms and applications tend to overwhelm my high school experience.
College is simply not worth the stress.
Society has managed to convince us that the colleges we pick are more important than the educations we get there. A student could have the best of educations at KU, just as another could screw around and learn little at Yale. The fact is that college is what you make of it, so picking the “right” college shouldn’t be so stressful.
But that world needs to wait; high school will then become much more enjoyable. Witness the thrill of winning a football game without worrying about athletic scholarships. Join clubs for a cause instead of a college. Enroll in electives that interest you but not necessarily a university. One day you’ll look back on this time and you’ll be able to say it was well-spent.
East agreed to host you until graduation, so do not let yourself be kicked out just yet. Walk to “Pomp and Circumstance” adorned in blue robes not as a Jayhawk or Wildcat, but as a Lancer.
Perfection is Overrated
It is not possible to always give the A+ effort that so many demand. With the multitude of activities that many students are involved in nowadays, it isn’t fair to ask for your best effort at everything you do. That would involve working every hour of your waking life.
And there’s the problem—we have lives. We need down time to watch The Office or peruse Facebook. We need that mental health break if nothing else to have something to look forward to.
Similarly, it’s not possible to always achieve perfection. Many parents and colleges seem to only accept this one outcome, but their ideology is flawed. School is great because it prepares us for successful lives; however, life isn’t always successful. It’s teeming with parking tickets and job losses and relationship problems. Successes in life are matched by failures, so unless we learn to cope with those failures, we will fall apart.
Many teachers understand this. Several offer homework passes and test retakes. Others make it clear that A’s are quite the achievements in their classes. These actions—not the demand for continual perfection—prepare us for the real world. Life requires endurance; if we always give 110 percent, we’ll be burned out by the time we leave college.
Get a B. Take a nap. Go watch the football game.