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Future Ponderings (a.k.a my circular thinking) This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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I am a junior in high school. In stolen moments of silence I find myself repeating the phrase out loud: I am a junior in high school. I imagine it was ineluctable from the very beginning, an impending trial which the majority of us have the misfortune of facing. Certainly in retrospect I will look upon it as a trite inconvenience, a solitary stair on a lengthy staircase. But I am not yet gifted with the aforesaid hindsight. On the contrary, one might say that I haven’t the slightest notion of exactly what I am doing as I stumble through the 11th grade. Herein lays my problem: with college applications looming in the horizon, people have started to ask me just what I plan join doing with myself. First, they ask about my continued education. After a brief explanation of my own lack of knowledge in regards to the subject, I am asked that most unfortunate of inquiries: what do I think I’ll do for work? My reply generally involves the words “not” followed by “cognizant,” along with a bewildered sort of facial expression I like to think dissuades people from questioning me further on the matter. Most lamentably, it does not change the fact that the question still requires an answer.

When people ask me what I want to do, I am immediately inclined to say “write.” I want to be a writer. I am a writer, or at least that’s what I like to tell myself. It’s what I do, what I have a reputation for doing. It feels mellifluous as it rolls of my tongue, writer. My ability to expound upon my love for the written word is endless. There is nothing I would enjoy more than spending my every moment exploring the intricacies of humanity through writing. I find myself making broad, melodramatic statements like “I live and breathe character.” Unfortunately, like acting, writing is one of the most unstable, non-profitable careers I could have chosen to set my heart on. I am not actually sure if one can even call “delving into the thoughts of mankind” a career. The ambiguity of my job search presents a significant problem: I cannot be a starving artist. Though it pains me to say it, my tastes are not those of an unemployed dreamer. This of course, brings me back to square one.

Whenever I rediscover my inability to live the capricious life of an author, my thoughts turn towards my other God-given interests. After a few minutes spent perseverating over the lack of careers for historians, literary experts, and actresses, I find myself thinking of the American dream and just how it applies to me. If I were to take the idealistic yet potentially lucrative path, I could work very hard and receive a degree in something wherein there are paying jobs to be found. My first thought would be to teach (although I am not sure if that necessarily constitutes a lucrative profession.) Eventually I would marry, purchase a house, and retire at a ripe old age. Unfortunately, I have an aversion to marriage, permanent residences, and students of all ages. Moreover I am painfully fastidious and given to long, sudden bouts of ennui, not to mention my natural inclination to be complacent and unmotivated. I cannot imagine that my choosing a mode of employment that I am not in love with will do much for my personal satisfaction. Once again, I have returned to square one, only by now the person who has inquired about my future is greatly regretting ever having brought up the subject.
I’ve come to find that whenever I ask someone about their junior year of high school they tend to lapse into spontaneous, deep reverie in regards to the subject. Akin to those essential 1980’s movies about teenagers, those who reminisce seem to recall what I’ve dubbed the triple D: dating, driving, and drama. The 11th grade is described as a time to be gregarious and carefree whilst wrapped up in a soap opera-esque social life which will later seem like pure vanity. No one mentions the painful ramifications of junior year, namely intensive decision making. This paper, much like my attempts at decision making, can be compared to Mark Twain’s description of a well-written humorous story: it has wandered aimlessly and arrived nowhere in particular. If anything, I have discovered that I am too romantically-minded to settle upon a career I won’t love wholeheartedly yet too sensible to chase after a pipe dream. I have also learned that “concise” and “paper” do not seem to go together in my mind, although I was vaguely cognizant of that beforehand. In the end, I suppose my best option is to become so wildly brilliant in regards to a specific subject that the college I attend hires me on to teach it. Sadly, chances are I will need a paying career in order to afford that much of an education.





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