Editor’s note: The author is a high school senior working as an intern at the Daily Lobo.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This is the question we young people are asked all throughout our lives. It is a daunting question that evolves in seriousness as you grow older. The high school class of 2013 is now being asked that question. However, this time, “princess” and “cowboy” just won’t do anymore. We are being forced to make life-altering decisions. Which school? Which major? And with what money?
As the school year comes to a close, most of the seniors have unsure answers to all of those terrible and ominous questions. God forbid we use the dreaded term “undecided” and have our peers and elders turn their noses up at us. My practiced and polished response is “double major in communications and journalism and psychology at UNM.” But how am I supposed to know if that won’t change in the fall? Our decisions used to be blissfully insignificant, and now, all of a sudden, they actually matter and will matter for the rest of our lives.
The entire process of going to college is a sick game. We are forced to take a test that will alter our future. It begins with the herding of hopeful high school seniors and juniors into a room for several hours where they begin the monotony of test taking.
The irony is that the testing administrators take 30 minutes of your testing time to explain to you how to fill in a circle accurately. So they expect you to write a five-paragraph essay that’s properly formatted in 30 minutes, but they don’t expect you to know how to fill in a circle?
This isn’t just some form of cruel and unusual punishment. This is the antagonist of the high school senior, the ACT. This test can decide where you go to school and how much money you can get from that school. No pressure, right?
Then, when the results come in, they are never satisfactory. But I suppose they will have to do. Next, the mass exodus of applications begins. Some are answered with a letter of acceptance. With that acceptance comes the realization of the new debt you will learn to be accustomed to. Some return with the dreadful letter that lets you know that your hard work and cumulative 4.7 GPA just weren’t what they were looking for.
It is a maddening process that seems to only get worse. Let’s say you actually decide where to go. Now you have to decide where to live, on or off campus, and how to pay for it. The massive amount of pressure that high school seniors and incoming freshmen face is outrageous.
The biggest feat in all of this is keeping your sanity. If you can just get to graduation day and accept that diploma with all of your sanity intact, I think the rest just has to fall into place.