For the top 3% of America, the question facing high-school seniors isn’t “Should I go to college?”; rather, they ask: “Where should I go to college?” More often, they shoot for stars rather than Mars.
It’s a tortuous and “torture-ous” journey, high school. With four years of community service, extracurriculars ranging from honor societies to clubs to sports and music, and (of course, least importantly) grades in twenty different AP/IB classes, it’s no wonder why people jet off for college without a skip of a beat. High school for the scions of the nation’s most well-off involves a personal chauffeur (aka “Mom”) shuttling around to soccer practices and building houses and SAT tutoring… all for those fateful few months of senior year.
When I hear or read about stories of children whose parents have cherry-picked every activity since middle school, organizing sailing camps during the summer or teaching “those poor Guatemalans,” I start to doubt whether this entire system works–what is the purpose of these events if the children aren’t the ones who initiate? What use will going to one of the world’s most academically-rigorous learning institutions if children have been led to believe that May 1st was the end of their woes and their life? As I delve deeper into the murky depths of this thing we call high school, especially in such a privileged area, I start to notice the toxicity of such an environment. Where bragging rights are from who sleeps the latest, who has the highest GPA, who has the most b.s. leadership positions in clubs that meet only for the yearbook picture. It feels like I’m wading through a combination of quicksand and vomit. Gross.
It’s become so deeply-ingrained in the minds of rich whites and Asians that the panacea for all wounds, for all ailments, is a hearty, quarter-million-dollar education in HYPSMCCBWKSDMC or whatever acronyms float around on CC (you have been warned). Three words for the confused: it will not.
“Well, this must be one of those online rants, isn’t it? He’s just jealous he’ll never make it. He’s just so cynical, and there are good people in this world!”
Yes, anonymous dissenter whom I will duel, there are good people in this world. There are high schoolers who do belong in an Ivy League school; these are the people who want to make a change in the world around them, not necessarily a fancy diploma or a plain-vanilla, comfortable life with a seven-digit-figure salary. These are the ones who dare to think above “how do I get into an Ivy League;” rather; they are those who say, “How will I make use of my skills and make my impact?”
High school is much more than preparing for college; it should prepare you for life. During these four years, make friendships that’ll carry on until you wear dentures instead of Free People skirts; find what intrigues you and beckons your attention; discover your personal strengths and weaknesses; develop stellar study habits and your own likable personality; and of course, kick up your legs and enjoy the rough yet rewarding cobblestone path that we call life.
Life is no sprint; life is a marathon~~