Figuring it Out

June 2, 2012
By , State College, PA
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I distinctly remember the pre-school project of divulging our hopes and dreams. Being a typical toddler, I stated, “I want to be a popstar!” There was an array of other answers, some saying they wanted to be lawyers and even one child, oddly enough, wanted to be a toilet. We were children: we had dreams, we had wishes and desires, but to be honest we didn’t think much past getting our cookies.

Now that we’re in high school people begin to ask us “Where do want to go? What do you want to do?” Some of our answers have evolved since our preschool days, but most of us don’t know what we want to do. We focus on our grades, attempting to find electives that we are interested in. But the same thought circles around in my head; you really want to do that for the rest of your life? The years of high school fly by, we struggle to maintain grades that are worthy of the best schools; we try to fill all of the standards that they are looking for. As summer of junior year rapidly approaches us we begin to panic, knowing that we need to have everything figured out in a matter of a few short months. How am I supposed to have everything figured out? I’m supposed to choose what I want to do for the rest of my life right now? “Oh you have tons of time to figure that out,” they say, “don’t worry too much about it.” I want to scream at them, college applications are three months away! I have to fill all of my graduation requirements, study for SATs, finish all of my homework, and worry about colleges accepting me or not?

They say colleges are looking for the best of the best, the most well-rounded people. So we all stack our schedules in hopes of impressing the colleges, and take the SATs as many times as we can. But there are so many factors that can affect our acceptance; colleges have quotas, and sooner or later we all turn into numbers. We add up to the number accepted; however we must subtract those who decide to go to other colleges. We also must account for those who transfer out of our desired schools, but add those who make it in on waiting lists. There is also another number that must be factored in, cost. Adding student loans, or loaning money from parents, or receiving financial aid, or picking up extra shifts at our jobs. The numbers spin around in my head making me dizzy. It’s all a numbers game, and it’s always a game of chance. Out of all the numbers; however, there is always one that is rejected.

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