Why I Want To Go To College This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   For some unexplainable reason, I become so engrossed in my mental performance of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony that I wander my way out of the straight, orderly lunch-line into my own world. The cafeteria lady proceeds to shout in my direction to inform me that I am not standing where the food is. I bring a cup of coffee into my first- period government class and my teacher confiscates it so that "the coffee won't spill and make a mess." I don't own a car and I'm punished by being forced to have a teacher sign my bus pass to go home after school. It seems that somebody with a high position in the hierarchy of faculty believes that little orange slips of paper will keep such accurate track of students that we will catch whomever has been vandalizing school property. The hall monitor refuses to let me go upstairs in the middle of a class period because she assumes I will stand there, slamming my locker and screaming obscenities, since my sole purpose in life is to disrupt a biology lab. I only want to be in a place where the front door is not a boundary between democracy and dictatorship. High school certainly isn't that place.

Instead of doing their own homework, my classmates hunt me down in the morning and ask how to say "stereotypical" in German, or determine the percent composition of magnesium hydroxide. In order to impress my history teacher I need to submit a twenty-page dissertation on carpetbaggers, build a replica of Fort Sumter from popsicle sticks, and sing "Yankee Doodle" while I stand on my head. In English class we could be delving into the philosophical implications of Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter, but instead the teacher decides to test our art technique by having us cut a letter "A" out of red posterboard and somehow, defying the laws of physics, make the "A" appear flashing in the night sky over Charlton Town Hall. My physics teacher taught us how to blow up a jelly donut in the microwave but I still don't understand how to determine the final velocity of a football thrown at a 35-degree angle. I can't deny that my education has been more than entertaining, but I have to wonder if I'm being taken seriously by my school's council of elders. I don't want to cause trouble; I'm just bored. Everything is so ordinary, and my memory has begun to blend the days together. I need a change of pace.

Every day I open my lunch to find the same old ham sandwich I've eaten every day since third grade. When I spend the night away from home, my mom always reminds me to bring my toothbrush. My little brother hogs the computer, practices his sax while I'm on a long-distance phone call, and argues with my parents when I'm trying to sleep. I've been looking at the same four walls for seventeen years and at the same spruce tree outside my window for nearly as long. I want to experience cable TV. I don't think I've ever met someone who wasn't a WASP from middle class suburbia, but I want to. I'm envious of my boyfriend because he's a college sophomore, lives with his best friend, and doesn't find unidentified socks mixed in with his clean laundry, battle with a locker nine times a day, or inhale a lifetime's worth of secondhand smoke from one trip to the restroom.

To make a long story short, I want to be able to take my education seriously, and I want my teachers to act as though learning is important to me. They don't need to put on a comedy routine to keep me in class. I question the judgment of whoever has ordered a caffeine crackdown when tobacco, tar, and nicotine are dripping from the mirror in the girls' bathroom. I'm not a baby; I can drink from a cup without spilling. I want to taste independence and find out what lies beyond the borders of this little town. Even though I love my mom very much, she sometimes forgets I'm almost grown up and I would hate to face the public without having brushed my teeth in the morning. And most of all, I hate living by the credo "guilty until proven otherwise." High school has become little more than a glorified kindergarten where the main purpose of a teacher is to keep everyone under control and make sure no one steals parts of the computers. Maybe in college I will be seen as an adult, and things will be different. c


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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