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Whose expectations? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I've always been a straight-A student, and I'd never questioned the value of that. Now with college apps looming, I'd started to wonder why grades matter so much. Why is getting into a “good” college so important? For the first time I'm questioning material success and realizing that the only reason I continue to complete pointless assignments and study for tests that prepare me for other tests (the AP) is because I'm expected to.

My mom and I argued for an hour when my report card came home last semester. I'd gotten a B+ in AP Chem.

“How will you get into an Ivy League school with B's?” she yelled. I asked why I would want to go to an Ivy.

“To get a good job,” she replied.

“I don't need a high-paying job to be happy. Why would I want a stressful job? Why would I want to get into a highly selective college?”

“Because you can make it,” she answered. Who am I to disappoint my family?

It's like that joke, the one where a mother is taking a walk with her young children and a stranger comes up and starts fussing over them, saying how adorable they are, asking how old they are. The mother replies, “The lawyer is five, and the doctor is three.” Are we, as children, teenagers, students, even professionals, defined by others' expectations?

I don't know where I want to go with my life, and others know where they want me to go with it, so I might as well follow their wishes since I haven't yet decided on my own. I just wonder if I'll realize some day that what they want isn't what I want. And then will it be too late to go back and start over?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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SometimesTina This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 30, 2011 at 1:58 pm
I am also a straight-A student and I had a discussion similar to this with a couple of my friends. We talked about how even though you may be capable of accomplishing great things, you owe the world nothing and have no more responsibility to do something great as anyone else. Great things may still happen, but you have no obligation to be the one behind them. With that said, I followed up on this conversation by talking to my mom, and she told me how my grandfather (her father) was in this same ... (more »)
Lola. said...
Aug. 27, 2010 at 4:40 am
I think youshould choose alone. Every one makes mistakes. It's better to make your own mistakes than to let someone else make them for you. Just do what you want to do, because it's your life, not your parents.
Bliss said...
Jul. 4, 2010 at 2:49 pm
definitely do what you want to do but keep in mind your parents are just trying to help, they have more experience with life in general that you
seraphinagreene said...
Jun. 21, 2010 at 2:52 pm

find your passion and follow it. 

no one else, not even your parents, can tell you what you want to do with your life. 

it really is simple as that. 

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