Friday, May 8, 2009

another college post

let’s get down to it: why don’t i want to go to college. or, phrased better, why does the fact that i am going scare me?
there are several reasons. one is the summer camp sort of fear that i won’t have any friends or fun and i won’t like who i am and that sort of thing. i think everyone suffers from that at least a little bit.

then there’s the money thing and how if i had just one year’s worth of college tuition and a library card a lot of what i need and want to learn.
but here, i think, is the biggest reason.

all my life i’ve been told that i was “smart.” i went to a statistically really good public elementary school and then got into a really good “selective” jr. high high school-prep program at the same public high school that i’ll be graduating from in june. the two schools consistently rank in the top three in the city, state, whatever, i’m not sure, but the pricipals always have something to brag about.

so always, always, even in elementary school, it has been assumed that my peers and i would go to college, would “major” in something. every day as i walk through school i am flooded with college propaganda. university posters with smiling students, green grass, and regally printed names decorate the counselors’ windows. students from jr. high upwards dress themselves in the clothing of schools they have no intention to attend. college has always been the assumed next step. we are supposed to set our sights on high test scores and dream schools with grad school and doctorates fuzzy ideals for a perfect career and “successful” life within that world we are schooled in.

it is this kind of expectation that makes me ask as a two-year-old might “whhyyy?” what can college give me so much better than the books at the public library, the world, and myself? why do you not acknowledge that it is not necessary to live within the confines of the tried-and-true/tried-and-oft-flawed world, as long as you assume responsibility and conscious choice for your break. i understand that teachers want the best for their students – at least, the good ones do, probably, and many a teacher probably thinks that college is best for their students. i mean, their hope for our higher education probably is genuine, not meant with a closed mind. once, i was talking with this one english teacher who i haven’t had a class with, but she helped out with the drama club. i was telling her about my uncertainty as to whether or not college was the a good idea, and she said somewhere in our conversation something like, “even if you don’t go right away, i think you’ll find that sometime you’ll want the challenge that college has to offer.” i like this teacher. she started as a student teacher and then took over the position of a teacher on maternity leave. so she started kind of on our level, the students’ level, we chatted and joked with her at rehearsals. i felt like i was able to talk to her easier than other teachers, not in a super-intense mentoring way, just friendly. and somehow her above statement just felt personal and it didn’t make me mad, i guess because she acknowledged that college was optional.

the title of this blog is about this dilemma.
okay fine, it’s a line from “suggestion” by fugazi, by it struck me hard one day when I was listening to the song.
i feel like all my life, i’ve just been carrying on, like they taught me, working through the logical steps.
so it’s worrying me and depressing me a little that i’m going to take the next step. i’m not being any different. i’m one of the over five hundred of my graduating class taking the next step. a part of the mass, a mass i have spent four years with and will, in statistic, spend at least one more year.

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