Do We Know Why? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

High school students are plunged into extracurricular activities, jobs, and valuable educational experiences as well as their studies. We are preparing for our futures as doctors, members of Congress, perhaps even the next Bill Gates or Martha Stewart. And the most important thing in our lives is the steppingstone known as college.

Around that steppingstone, we plan our existence. Many of us become studious, athletic or charitable on command, running to any activity that might look good on a college application. We’re the best of citizens, organizing events to raise money for breast cancer and helping to save the world one beach cleanup at a time. And we always have our dream college on our mind, which will lead to our dream job, which will in turn bring us great happiness and excellent salaries.

Isn’t it terrific that we’re so goal-driven? You might think so until you see beneath this veneer of focused young adults. We are really at a loss as to what to do - we continue because we don’t know how to turn back. And if we ever have the urge to deviate even slightly from the correct path, we are prodded and poked until we return. Our wise elders know what is best for us.

Sometimes we fight because we have an inkling that we might know ourselves better. We find enjoyment not from playing a sport every day but from writing in a journal, watching a terrible movie, or perhaps walking the cat. When this is discovered, we’re ridiculed and slapped back into place. And with the most judicious of threats! If we don’t follow our parents’ command, we’ll have to pay for college ourselves. If we don’t obey the wisdom of those who have lived life already, we are ignorant ingrates headed for failure.

We are blessed with more than caring parents and mentors. We have our hearts and our souls, not just some mold to fill. Students: take care to know the why of your lives. We are better than mindless automata.

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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This article has 11 comments. Post your own now!

izzy_0314 said...
Apr. 16, 2014 at 12:45 pm
This is so true because I feel like everything I do is reflected onto my college application, which is so not true. It irritates me when people only do things for the credit and then there's not enough room for the others that actually enjoy the activity. Great article!
Educators said...
Sept. 30, 2013 at 1:36 am
The site is really amazing
rheame said...
Sept. 10, 2013 at 7:05 am
superb! i really agree with you completely!! great! :)
SFeathery said...
May 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm
I agree. Call me petty, maybe, but I get so annoyed when my friend joins the same clubs as I even though SHE'S only doing it for the credit. I'll actually enjoy the activity, but we still get the same status on the application. Then she complains about it, and I ask her why shes still doing it, and she just gives me some stupid answer about how "she never said she hated math team/debate team/etc" It ticks me off sooooo much... :/
iWriteForFood said...
Mar. 26, 2013 at 5:26 pm
So true! It seems like everyone's always telling me to take this class or join this club because it will look good or help me in college. Great article!
emilybwrites said...
Jul. 29, 2011 at 9:04 am
so true that really opened my eyes. i completely agree. great article
kitkat1336 said...
Jul. 7, 2011 at 11:26 am
Very very true. People want us to do what they could not in their years. High school did the same. Thank you for your words of wisdom, I enjoyed reading your article. :)
perrylovedairycows said...
Jun. 15, 2011 at 1:35 pm

i didn't read the article but i think i liked it from what i read and i hope that this passage is better as i go on.  but like i said i have't read it and i want to read it and.......... i only read the comment on what the poeple had put on there.  thank you.


JoannaBanana said...
Mar. 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm
This is very poignant for me too. My school is extremely goal-driven and competitive, and as a result it has lost almost all its spirit. My friends in my honors/AP courses are working toward college in every way humanly possible. They join every club available for the extra lines on apps, and the clubs have become a joke because of that prevailing attitude. Not to mention, they often sleep about 4-6 hours a day. It's sick what's happening to schools. Clearly, it's not just mine. Not everyone can... (more »)
obscurexclearly said...
Apr. 1, 2010 at 8:17 pm
This is an article that hits extremely clost to home for me. Nearly every day, I am told that I need to broaden my range, because colleges will then look at me and say, "Well, she's social, and diverse, and has time to do all of this extra activities even is she is in the IB Program!" (Note: not in IB Program yet, but will be shortly!) Just because Key Club might look good, I don't want to be in it. Just because sports might get colleges interested, I'm sure not. America has high standards for s... (more »)
Eagle said...
Feb. 1, 2009 at 6:38 am
I agree with you entirely. Some of my friends, including me, are so hypnotized by this thing called college that everything they do is for college. Why join club B? Because it differs from club A and variety looks good on college transcript. Why audition for honors chorus when you know you are not good? Because there's a slight chance that I can get in and if I do then it looks VERY good on the transcript. What? About to quit Club C but changed your mind? Why? Oh, the adviser chose me to be ... (more »)
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