I’m a freshman, so I’m always told I don’t really have to worry about college…yet. And even so, every single day I am reminded that my high school years are short. All of the adults in my life constantly tell me that it’s only three years until I have to basically decide my entire future and the way I make a living. Terrifying, no? In this generation, college is a must; you basically can’t do anything without a degree of some sort. And, to add on to the already increasing stress, I don’t even have a clue as to where to start.
Though high schools try to prepare us, college is still as foreign to me as what life is like on Mars. Where do I go? How do I choose a major? Why does it all cost so much? I’ve spent all of my adolescent years thinking I’ll study English in college, then dermatology pops up, and oh, is that voice acting? No, actually, let’s pursue being a fiction author, or maybe singing? You like singing. And what about musical theater? The list goes on and on, really, it does. We’re expected to be able to explore our interests and talents through electives, but we can’t really explore as we’re told if we have no time for it. If five of my classes are mandatory educational classes, and one of them is a sport that colleges expect you to be dedicated to for your entire high school career, that leaves one spot for an elective. One. That also means that you’re waking up earlier for a zero period, sleeping later because of sports and homework, and probably drowning in stress. Not to mention that colleges also look for dedication in electives too, meaning that switching electives every year isn’t really that beneficial.
Unlike our parents or grandparents, our generation faces a whole new set of career options, which depend on a completely new type of platform: the Internet. Being a YouTuber is now a viable career option, and freelance artists, photographers, and clothing designers are on the rise. Do you need a college degree to vlog about your daily life? No, you don’t, and while artists may want to study art in college and clothing lineowners may want to study fashion and business, in this new world, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.
Where does that leave us? I have no clue. For years, students across America have complained and begged for reforms within the school system, but nothing ever seems to come through. This is understandable, it’s pretty difficult to change an entire nation’s education curriculum, but there has to be something that we could do differently if so many students nationwide are unhappy. Our school system is so demanding; generation by generation, people are getting smarter, which means everything is just so much more competitive. It’s almost laughable how many times I’ve silently wished I could move to Finland, where education is not nearly as mentally destructive as it is here in the States. Nevertheless, I’m lucky enough to be getting an education in the first place. Though no education system comes without its limits, I do strongly believe that it can only get better. We are collectively one of the most brilliant and innovative generation of students, but we still need direction. I stand among the next engineers, astronauts, politicians of the world, and I know that, as uncertain as it seems, our future is bright.