Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Painting for College

As kids, we start painting a picture of ourselves. Our lives really. We start in kindergarten picking out the framework for our painting, the same one that everyone else in the world has and as time goes on we pick up our paint-brush and start painting. Your family members tell you that when you grow older, you’ll have to show this painting off to the world, and that it’ll take you somewhere.

That place is College.

At first, we think “that’s light years away,” and in a way it is. Its years of tears and heartbreak, wisdom and knowledge, and hard work and determination away. So far, that we allow our brush strokes to get lazy, a blank spot here and there doesn’t seem significant to you, and others don’t make a big deal out of it anyway. You go on, and you suddenly realize that everybody’s picture isn’t the same. Even with the same frame, some people are starting dark and secretive pictures, and some a medley of beautiful flowers. You’re told “It’s important that you differentiate yourself,” and some of us take heed. Some of us stick to our own small groups and work diligently on our paintings, putting time and effort into the mural of our lives; and then there’s everyone else. There are the kids that wildly throw paint onto the canvas, those that break their frames, and even kids that don’t paint at all. Teachers and family try to tell you that every single stroke of your brush means something, and that your painting is all you have to promote yourself and to be known. Some of us listen, and some of us don’t.

Then comes the moment. The moment you realize that the fairy tale that is “college,” isn’t that far away anymore. Guidance counselors take a look at your painting and tell you what you need to do to improve it, and family members shower you with years of experience from their artwork.

“Add some color there; paint over this blemish, and to keep up the good work!”

You look down at your painting and it all rushes into you, all those moments of indifference regarding it, blown opportunities.

Why didn’t I go get extra help that year?


Why didn’t I realize that hanging out with these people was screwing me up?

Why didn’t I dedicate more time?

But it’s too late. You can’t undo what you already painted, it’s stained the canvas and it’s there for everyone to see. You have to live with what you’ve painted and how it came out. Will it be accepted into the illustrious art gallery that is college? That question is an often asked question, but holds the worst results when only asked when one is finished painting.

So I implore those of you with the time and the means to fix your paintings to look back on it, see what you can fix, and don’t let anyone or anything ruin your painting;

Showcase your beautiful artwork in the ultimate art gallery:

College.



Join the Discussion


This article has 1 comment. Post your own!

TraceSinAndBones This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 1, 2012 at 10:27 pm:
I think you already know my thoughts on College, so I won't get into that. However, this feels eerily similar to a piece I did not too long ago. As such, I can definitely see the wisdom behind the words. Nice job.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback