The Harbinger Online

Pumping up the pressure

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Photo by Grace Goldman

“Oh, so you are in high school now? Do you know where you want to go to college?”

The last time I got this question was last week at my uncle’s wedding reception. So many people I haven’t seen in months asked me. For some reason all of their first thoughts surrounded, “You’re through middle school and are on to high school; what next?”

Over the last year or so the go-to response their question, which usually is followed by an awkward pause before I answer, “I haven’t really put that much thought into it.” For now, college is this thing that looms in the distance that I am trying to stay as far away from as possible.  

There is still so much of high school I have left to experience. I still have so many more last minute touchdowns to cheer for and sets to dread during the swim season. I don’t want to miss all of these moments trying to figure out the future years in advance.

I don’t understand why there seems to be all of this pressure to know what I am going to do with my life. I don’t have a step by step guide on how to get through the next few years. No one needs that especially not a high school student.

I am 15 years old. In two and a half years, I will graduate high school and move into a dorm room where there is more than just a staircase separating me from my parents, but for the moment I am here at East. My biggest concerns are getting a B in Algebra 2 and preparing my audition song for the musical.

I have some friends who have made up their mind on where they want to go to college already. Many of them have decided they just want to get out of Kansas. Well, whether they are going in-state or far away. I have no idea if I want to move 500 miles away or stay 15 minutes from my house.  

I don’t understand why I would need to know right now.  Two and half years is a long time to figure out where I am going to have my college experience. I still don’t really know everything about myself, so I think for now I can cut myself some slack on being a little behind with my life plan. I don’t even have a driver’s license; How am I supposed make the decision of becoming a Wildcat or a Jayhawk when I still have to carpool to school?

Lately my inbox has been piling up with generic emails about how the people at the admissions offices would love for me to become a part of the community at their school.  I leave most of them unopened.

As of now I have only visited KU for Sophomore Legacy Day. I walked around the campus thinking that in a few years this could possibly be my home. As a sophomore, it was uncomfortable trying to picture myself as a college student when I still felt like a little freshman.

Throughout the day I was once again bombarded with the same looming question. When the Vice Chancellor of the University asked the group how many of us definitely wanted to become a Jayhawk I was surprised at the number of hands that shot up right away.

More people than I expected knew the answer to the question I am stumped by. The closest thing I have to a college plan is a board on Pinterest of potential dorm room decorations.

I know that college is important and it isn’t something I am completely ignoring, but it isn’t at the forefront of my thoughts either. I don’t want to grow up too fast. I want to be able to enjoy my time in highschool without always worrying about what is ahead of me.

Someday I will walk around Lawrence, Manhattan, Columbia or some other college town as a student, not a high school kid. Someday I will sit in the student section yelling and supporting my college mascot, but for now I’m content in Prairie VIllage as a Shawnee Mission East Lancer.

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