I received another four college brochures in the mail today. Each is fairly typical, with a smiling girl sitting with a smiling boy under a smiling oak tree - one of them shows the smiling girl throwing a frisbee to the smiling boy. Inside each brochure is a listing of all the sports at the school - like I care - and the different majors offered. They are all about the same. Even the "personalized letters" are the same: "Dear Linda, The College Board has notified us of your excellent PSAT scores and academic record. We feel that you are the type of student who would do well at BlahBlah University..." Give me a break. All the information that these people have about me is the result of some crummy standardized test that I stumbled through unconsciously at nine o'clock on a Saturday morning sophomore year. They don't know anything about ME. BlahBlah Univer-sity doesn't realize that they're wasting their time inviting me to join their championship women's basketball team because I'm only 5'1", and I'm about as interested in basketball as I am in amateur slug wrestling. Besides, I don't trust a person who signs his/her name with turquoise ink. This deluge (PSAT word) of catalogs and form letters does them more harm than good. I've resorted to tossing them all out and relying totally upon reputation.
Another problem with college is that after 17 years of "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I am actually expected to give some reasonable answer such as "Gastroenterologist" rather than "Indiana Jones." Can they be serious? I don't have too much experience with careers. I won't know what I want to do with my life for at least another 10 or 20 years. Meanwhile, I have to choose a major and courses. There's no room for exploration. It seems like if you make one small mistake, the rest of your life will be screwed up forever. Whatever happened to joining the Peace Corps or wandering around Europe for a few months? We have to do something relaxing after 13 years of education before we wade deeper into the fountain of knowledge. Oh well, I guess that's life.n
Author's note: Since writing this article, the author has been accepted to an Ivy League university where she will have the opportunity to sit under smiling oak trees and use many PSAT words in casual conversation.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.