Now, that seems kind of silly. A seventeen year-old girl having an issue with volumes of freedom and independence? Definitely not – that aspect of college life fascinates me. The issue I have, and have had, concerns the two years leading up to college. Us high-schoolers practically sell our souls over college resumes, clubs, grades, and SAT scores. Service organizations become meaningless and self-centered, grades become repetitive, and learning becomes a chore. The National Honors Society was created to HELP PEOPLE, not to get you into college. One bad grade on a quiz will hardly even affect our grades, yet we stay up all night just to make sure we know everything. Honestly, I am not any better than the rest of my peers. I have joined clubs solely on the basis of wanting to beef up my resume, and I have definitely found the answers to my calculus homework on the internet a time or two (sorry Mr. Mathew!). The hyper-competitive nature of applying to college is slowing turning high-schoolers in to egocentric animals that have learned to memorize, not learn.
My biggest issue stems from the self-centered aspect of the whole process. We need to know the most impressive aspects of ourselves, just to keep up with the rest of the group. I went to a college interview, and they interviewer asked the most worthless questions. I prepared for questions like “What do you hope to contribute to society?” or “What do you hope to earn in college?”. Instead, I was asked(in rapid-fire succession) what my GPA was, what AP classes I have taken, what my SAT scores were, and what my SAT Subject Test scores were. Now that I am applied and admitted into college, none of those things even matter! I think this all stems off of the one-size-fits-all mentality that is shoved down our throats during high school. Between standardized tests and the ever-increasing demand to be a 100% success, the need to be unique has never been so high. We are told by our guidance counselors that we must take the most rigorous schedule in order to get into our top schools – and all for what? Just so we can graduate after another four years and move on to graduate school?
My point is not to rant and complain, but rather to remind everyone – high-schooler or not – that the real purpose of joining a service organization is to SERVE OTHERS, not yourself. The real reason to go to college is to LEARN, not to fulfill someone else’s dream for you. The reason we get up and go to work every morning is not because we have to, but because we want to make a difference in the world. If we want to change society, we need to start with the children and the school system. School should bring out the unique qualities in a person, while giving them education that they can use for the rest of their lives. I remind you today to help others, and maybe someone will help you. Happy April 9th 🙂