Monday, December 7, 2015

College and the Hereafter

I’m going to talk about college again today. I can’t promise it won’t be the last time but it will probably be the second to last. After that I’ll write about Star Wars, so that’s something to look forward to. 

I’ve decided that being a senior in high school is basically the same thing as being a devout Christian. Senior year is ten months of a narrow focus on one thing: where you’re going to end up next year. That’s certainly not a bad thing, but it isn’t exactly howdy doody either. Devout Christians (or members of almost any other religion that believes in an afterlife) focus so much time in their current lives worrying about the next one, i.e. getting in heaven. Again, this isn’t a bad thing, but when you’ve devoted all of your attention to the road ahead, you forget to stop and smell the roses. And the roses are worth smelling. 

Now, the metaphor isn’t perfect. For one thing, while there might not be life after death, there is definitely life after high school. If you’ve spent your whole life preparing for the next one only to find out there is no heaven to look forward to, then, well, crap. For seniors in high school, they will definitely be somewhere after they graduate, so there is oh so much pressure to nail down where that somewhere will be. 

Thing #2: heaven is final, college is not. If you are accepted into heaven, sick. Good work. You can officially chill for the rest of, how long? Eternity? Nice. That sounds lovely, doesn’t it? If you are accepted into college, sick. Good work. You can officially chill for the rest of senior year, so about anywhere between three and six months, depending on when you get in. Six months of peace is no doubt awesome, but it isn’t exactly an eternity. Once you’re at college, you’re worrying about life after that. Will you apply to graduate schools? Will you join the workforce? Are you going to have debts to pay off? Those are kind of scary questions. Simple, but intimidating in the minds of seventeen-year-olds who more or less are being asked what they want to do for the rest of their lives. 

I’m not complaining about having to deal with these intimidating realities. I’m not trying to escape some war-torn country. I have loving friends and family that feed me pretty much all the time. And best of all, I actually have the ability to apply and hopefully be accepted into college. How can I justify complaining about almost anything when I’m this lucky? I just think it’s important to take moments to stop worrying about what comes next and embrace what is happening now.

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