Baby Steps

There are many defining moments in life for everyone. They can range from getting married to having children to getting a job or losing a loved one. One of the first and most pivotal changes in life is the transition from high school to college. It's a huge step for most people; you can no longer be careless and be dependent on others all the time. You must now exit the safe haven where you have resided in for most of your life and go to a higher level institution where responsibility is essential. It's an exciting notion; the idea of going to a place where you have the freedom to explore the world and prepare yourself for whatever the world throws at you.

The concept of attending college is depicted in such a positive manner, but do we ever stop and think about the tedious journey that leads up to this moment; the 13 years of effort invested into something that will help us secure a brighter future. As a rising senior that is currently going through this process, I know exactly how it feels.

And let me tell you, it's not easy.

At first, the thought of going to college was exciting, and don't get me wrong, it still is. College is an amazing opportunity to learn more about yourself and the world around you. But as I get closer and closer to applying to colleges, it is becoming more stressful and even unappealing. It is undeniable that the college admissions process has become increasingly competitive throughout the years, and these days, it seems as if it is now a process that begins well before your senior year. Kids have always worried about getting into a good school and getting a quality education, but now, it's going too far. The amount of stress that students are facing has exponentially increased, and in turn it's affecting their sleeping habits and lifestyles. They are unable to get enough sleep because they are too busy writing an essay or cramming for the ACT they have tomorrow. I'm not against all of these different things that strain people and push them to their limits, but when these tests, and essays, and applications start affecting the health of me and my fellow peers, I get frustrated.

Another huge issue that pesters me is how so many people get caught up with the numbers. They let a select few numbers determine who they are, and if they are unhappy with these numbers, they will do anything to change them. They will buy every single practice for a certain standardized test, or spend hundreds of dollars on a test prep class, or take certain classes that they don't even enjoy just to boost their GPA. It is truly sad, because these numbers don't define you; at the end of the day they mean nothing.

Furthermore, I'm also noticing that people are not doing things that they enjoy. They are simply doing things to slap onto their resumés. They try to get involved with so many clubs or activities that they are not passionate about and ultimately can't handle them, which leads to more unwanted stress. In addition, it's a commonly held misconception that a college diploma ensures success. This couldn't be further from the truth! A college diploma is literally a piece of paper, and it doesn't determine how successful you will be in your life; what matters is your perseverance and passion for what you pursue in life. Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg; all college dropouts that went on to pursue what they loved and ended up leaving a huge impact on the world.

Going to college is a huge step in life and applying is far from relaxing. It can be overwhelming and the thought of it will probably consume you at some point, but remember, nothing is more important than your health. So sleep in, go to the beach, hangout with friends, play outside, just enjoy your youth, because it'll be over before you know it.

And when the time comes for you to step into the real world, remember this; love what you do, but more importantly, do what you love.