Lately it appears as if going to college is a popular road to take, a ritual or rite of passage in some cases.
Standard operating procedure requires you go to preschool, middle and high school, working your way through the education cycle and ultimately arriving in college.
Maybe that statement carries such validity to me because of the academic nature of my surroundings. The desire of attending college is becoming a hideous trend coupled with actual attendance.
When I visit home, I hear my friends who are not in college habitually enter into conversations about their intent to eventually go. The topic comes up not because we are stressing about how life is dismal or the increase in gas prices.
These conversations are completely unsolicited, which makes me uncomfortable because my college acceptance seemingly makes me superior. I do not feel superior; it is well understood that a college education is not guaranteed for everyone nor is college meant for everyone.
At home, my friends welcome me into their apartments and smile when I tell them how proud I am of them for having their lives in order, juggling full-time jobs, apartments, cars, bills and pets even; and all at 19 or 20. I would never have imagined owning a pet at 20. I always knew I would not have one because I’d be in college.
These are the friends who graduated from high school a year before me or dropped out and flaunted their new lives, absent of homework and tests, in my face.
It was hard continuing under the constraints of school nights, and, even though my options were limitless, I could have gone out and had fun with the graduates without any kind of objection. Instead, I chose to be mindful of the fact that although life was peachy for them in the short term, the long term would not offer any fruit.
Now they are all in a period of regret and hindsight. Now they are all living free from homework between the shifts of those full-time jobs, because now it is necessary to work to have a home.
As if having a limited window of time to accomplish things and have the fun they had post graduation were enough, the dramatic immaturity and high school gossip comes back into play.
I always feel like I have traveled back in time once reunited with them. My entire visit turns from the eventful time I had planned for to a real life episode of “Gossip Girl.”
There are people who covet the benefits and allure of a college education.
“Sweetheart,” I tell them, “this vacation is comparable to a mere commercial break for me. You will still be here doing the same things day in and day out, while in a few weeks I will be learning.”
I cannot help but think, “My friend could be a junior right now, almost done with one of the most important accomplishments of his or her entire life instead of regretting not going to college directly after high school and realizing the benefits of that poor decision do not exist.”
I am not implying that my friends, or yours, are less capable and their lack of postsecondary education will mar them in life.
I am simply saying my time spent in the dredges of pettiness paired with my materialistic peers makes me appreciate my decision to go to college following high school.
They may have all the things they want right now, but what will they have later?