Constant procrastination. It’s a character flaw. For the past four years I could justify this, and my other shortcomings, with “I’m good enough, I don’t have to try.” Conceited? Yes. Realistic? Definitely not.
This is the first year where my expectations about how my life should play out became obviously unrealistic. My dream college was truly a dream. I knew before I even looked at the application that I wasn’t going to be accepted. I had to face the fact that I’m not as smart, not as diverse and not as athletically talented as I think I am. All of a sudden, 18 years of being good wasn’t good enough.
In the simplest, most adolescent terms, it sucked.
My whole life has been full of yes. Yes to go to a private college of my choice, to living abroad for multiple summers, to the clothes that I wear and to never needing to have a job to support myself. I get good grades, I have tutors and parents who will do whatever it takes to get me what I want. There is a constant affirmation of my abilities and opportunity. Rarely have I ever been told no.
Criticism came seldomly and even less frequently did I take it to heart. Instead of listening and then making the necessary changes, I got defensive and make excuses. I was able to push aside the knowledge that my performance wasn’t perfect. It was usually above average work so why should I make the extra effort.
This mindset worked fairly well my four years at East, because I always had the excuse, “next year I’ll do this better.” Next year isn’t going to be at East. Next year is going to be college. Where I will begin to face the reality of the what actions mean for me without the safety net of parents and teachers.
Reality didn’t just set in when it came to academics this year. I had to realize that the lifestyle I have now, which comes from the parents I have and place that I live, is not feasible once I leave home in August. Living on a student’s budget won’t include a $100 pair of Lululemon leggings. The people I will be with won’t all be from Johnson County, where the average family income is over $70,000.
Maybe I’ve been lying to myself or simply delusional these last four years. Maybe I’ve never truly had to suffer the consequences of my actions because of the support system I have. Senior year is my last year with this safety net. But when I had to start making decision this year based on what was actually possible as I looked toward my future.
In less than a week the life I’m used to will end with a yearbook, cap and gown. From here I’ll be facing the reality of life after East. As unhappy as reality might have made me this past year, understanding what I am actually capable of and what my opportunities are.