and what a journey it was

Contrary to popular belief, that long, arduous journey to college did not happen over the course of one night. To be honest, the journey to college honestly wasn’t started when you just began high school either. The journey to college starts as nothing more than a glint in your father’s eye. It begins before you are even brought into existence (is this kid really claiming that the journey to college start before you are even born?) To that question I say, “hell yes!” There are not many people who influence you more in life than either parents or legal guardians, depending on your current situation. Little Billy boy or little Lucy lady are brought into this world prepared to take in the ideals that their parents instill in them. So when little Billy boy puts his velcro sneakers on and grabs his little brown bagged lunch to go and get on the bus on that first day of school, he goes with the work ethic and belief in education that his parents have.

After those few innocent years of elementary school come to an end, it means that you are headed into those embarrassing and often not-so-talked-about middle school years. (For me, middle school meant being chubby, awkward, and having my hair dyed blonde, it was pretty bad news) Middle school means possibly going to a new setting with people who you may not have ever seen before. At this time, most kids still really care about school, but it is also the time when the caring begins to cease. Little Billy begins to grow a few straggly hairs under his chin and little Lucy, well she starts wearing a training bra. Nobody has “cooties” anymore, and the school dances start becoming BIG news. “Did you hear Billy kissed Lucy?!” “I hear that they are dating!” With so many “love” affairs happening at one time, some kids just begin to start losing interest in school. (This didn’t happen to me because I was, as mentioned before, quite awkward) Some students carry on their excellent study habits, and some may even grow out of this phase, but for some, this loss of interest is unescapable.

So now you have FINALLY made it to high school. For the most part, the same friends that you grew up with are still with you. You’re in the big leagues now Billy and Lucy. That one random relative is constantly telling you about how great he was in high school, and you sit pretending and struggling to put on this facade that you are interested. We all have had those conversations with people who give us an uneasy vibe where all that can be done on your part is an uneasy laugh accompanied by an occasional forced smile and a nod of the head. High school is supposed to be the best part of anyone’s life, well at least Hollywood says that, so therefore it must be true. (I really do not mean that) Now that you are in high school though, the awkwardness that you once had has subsided at least a little bit. It is time for you to leave your mark, you are nothing more than a mangy freshman, so you know that you have to play it off like you are cool. Being cooler than the other side of the pillow, is the level of coolness that you are expecting to have. This is the moment where you can either sink or swim, it is the moment where a student needs to find balance. Some were destined to start believing that it is just high school and that if they at least show up that college will still be within reach. Others are able to realize that you can still be whoever you want to be while at least maintaining a fairly good grade point average. This is when the division into different groups or “cliques” occurs. There are a group of kids that some would call nerds, then there are  the gothic or “emo” kids. Along with this, there are your typical jocks, preps, kids who are “too cool for school,” and that one group of kids that wishes that they were going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Oh yeah, and then there is that one kid that no one will see until the night of graduation at the end of senior year. Although it does not seem like a big deal at the time, the group of people you surrounded yourself with does make a tremendous difference. They were either the kids that you studied with OR the kids that you slacked off with.

Now junior year rolls around and the college search is in full swing and more importantly,  the SAT’s are right round the corner. There is nothing nicer than putting so much pressure on a kid to do well on a single test. “oh come on, it’s just a test, it’s not like it affects the rest or your life!” Well actually it does, and it will be a major factor in determining where you will be going to college. Well now that the SAT’s are done, it would be time to begin picking the place that you will be studying the trade that you will be doing for the rest of your life. (no pressure) It is also the time when you either say “Wow, I’m glad I buckled down during high school,” or its the moment when all you can say is, “Wow I really wish I tried harder.” Applications to school are sent out and the nerve-racking wait for letters back from those school begins. Being denied acceptance to a school is just a polite way of them telling you that you are not good enough for us, try somewhere a little less renowned. Nothing boosts a young adults confidence like being told that you aren’t good enough, right?! Once you are settled on your second choice college, or for the lucky ones, your first choice, the journey to college is basically at its end, thus ending a nearly 18-year-old journey.

So there you go not-so little Billy and all-grown-up Lucy, you made it! Don’t be sad though, college is normally where the real journey begins, college is truly the stepping stone to the path that you will be taking for the rest of your life. Feel free to let me know what you think of this. Any comments or feedback is greatly appreciated. cheers, Andy

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