Every day we haul ourselves out of bed, rubbing our eyes and trying to wake up. Why?
The answer is simple: school is necessary to our success. Doing well in high school leads to acceptance to a prestigious university, which leads to a good job, which leads to a good salary and a good life. This is the hope we all have. This is the motivation that keeps us willing and able to exist as students in an increasingly competitive world.
For many, the light at the end of the tunnel of high school is acceptance into an Ivy League school. No matter who they are, everyone has this fantasy. I can remember thinking, When I grow up, that is where I’m going. Obviously, I was a little naive since I did not realize how much work that goal would require. More importantly, I no longer view going to an Ivy as an option for myself. This transformation has come from arduously attained maturity.
While in the past I believed that going to an Ivy League school was the only way to succeed, I now realize how many other excellent options exist. Of course I still want a good life, but I have also found the importance of enjoying the present. We only have one childhood, and I do no not want to spend it constantly working toward something that is not absolutely necessary. I am by no means attempting to reduce the appeal of the Ivies, but I do feel that many teens lose sight of things in their quest to reach them.
Several books about college admissions highlight a rapidly increasing competition among students. As hundreds of thousands of straight A students apply to top universities, they are forced to find new ways to stand out. What has been created is a community of students who, despite being extremely talented and educated, are increasingly deprived of meaningful fulfillment.
We cannot afford to lose ourselves in our pursuit of a prosperous future. We must realize that success does not require attending the best college, or even having the best job. Success is simply living life to the fullest. So go on. Continue to be motivated and pushed by school, but for your sake, enjoy every minute of it.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.