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A Yearlong Delay

Society constantly pressures teenagers into reaching for the unachievable goal of perfection. The average teenager is expected to make As and Bs while being active in several clubs, sports, and community service activities, added on top of holding a job in order to pay for college and a social life. However, the top priority for most teenagers should be school. Juggling a handful of extracurricular activities that often pull students out of school often diverts students' focus away from fully concentrating on their high school studies. In particular, teens who are college-bound commonly participate in such a high number of activities in order to advance them to the next round of the learning process, attending a university. Students become involved in as many activities as possible without collapsing under the pressure simply to get into their college of choice and win as many scholarships as they can to pay the expensive price of learning. All of the hard work put forth by these students will be for nothing if their attendance at a university is delayed by one year because of a required public service commitment.

If required to serve a year in public service, some students will lose their drive for achieving success in school. Some students will lose their motivation to continue with their push toward obtaining a degree in their career of interest if they have to lengthen the next goal before them. The current increase in students earning early college credit through Advanced Placement and CLEP Test programs make it apparent that students would rather go through college quickly in order to dive into the real world as soon as possible. A one year public service commitment will certainly be unfair for those students who work so hard just to move on to the next level of their lives. In addition, during the one year college delay, students will likely forget many of the skills learned in high school. Many students lose a significant portion of math skills over a three-month summer break, which also sets them behind at the start of a new school year. The loss of skills over four times the length of a summer break will set students so far back as to cause serious damage to their progress in college. The few weeks of review necessary after a three month break can easily turn into months of review with a yearlong break to make up for lost time, wasting both students' and teachers' valuable time. After a required year of service commitment is served, some students will have no motivation or drive to return to school, sitting in classrooms for hours at a time to learn.

Even students not academically bound have other goals in mind after high school. Some opt not to pursue college because the careers they have in mind do not require a college degree. They plan to jump right into the work force in order to get a start on the next segment of their lives. Others plan to attend technical school in order to prepare themselves for the work force. Those unsure of the path they should take next in life, looking for direction, will willingly enlist in a branch of the military or sign up to serve their community in other ways. If a public service commitment is forced upon them, these young adults will likely become frustrated at being set back in the pursuit of their goals and dreams. After high school, teenagers anticipate the presentation of a whirlwind of opportunities and the freedom to make their own choices. A one year service commitment will interrupt and deter high school seniors' plans for life after college.

With focus turned to something unrelated to their future goals, students may feel like they are suffocating, being forced into something they do not desire to participate in. With the delay of the freedom so many teenagers look forward to after high school, many will lose their determination to continue their studies at the collegiate level. A one year service commitment after high school graduation may wear some students out to the point of ending their pursuit of a college degree. Students should not be forced into a public service commitment as soon as they graduate because of the resulting diversion and unnecessary delay toward their future goals.




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penguin35 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 24, 2010 at 1:34 pm:
Nice message :) None of my friends can figure out why I don't do extracurricular activities. They tell me, "You'll never get into a good college if you don't do other activities." But I don't even want to go to college and if I did after-school activities I would have less time to do homework.
 
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