Hello my fellow crazies,
Our entire lives, we’ve been taught that there is a uniform sequence of events we must follow. Upon turning 18, we are expected to choose which school we plan to spend four years of our lives at. What are we even supposed to use as the basis of our choice? How much scholarship money do they give? How cheap it is? How great the academics are? The party scene? Once we’ve muddled through all of those factors and finally make a choice, we’re expected to pick up our entire lives and bring it to this new environment. We’re expected to know, at the ripe age of 18, in what direction we want our lives to go. If we made the choice to not go to college, we’re expected to have a different plan. Are you freaking out yet? Good. If you weren’t, I would be led to believe that you think all of this is completely normal. It’s not! It isn’t normal for you to be babied for eighteen years of your life, only to be thrown into the pits of despair of adulthood in three seconds. It’s terrifying. As a 21-year-old who is a few years down the road, I have some good news for you…
None of us know what we’re doing. When you’re sitting in class on your first day of organic chemistry and Jimmy to the left seems like he’s got it all together, “Yeah I’m pre-med. I plan on going to med school and maybe doing my residency at the Mayo Clinic before I become a neurosurgeon.” There’s a 50/50 shot that Jimmy won’t achieve that. It’s not mean, it’s not harsh, it’s just the facts. When you pictured college, you probably pictured a bunch of bright smiling faces walking around campus; studying at the library in between attending the parties of the century. Look around. Is that what you see? I see a bunch of kids who have circles under their eyes darker than the depths of my soul. They’re relying on coffee and Adderall to get them through their undergraduate career. Half of them are already researching graduate programs because they’ve realized that their philosophy degree isn’t going to get them anywhere. The kids at parties are either failing, got all of their work done before they went, or they’re thinking about how bad an idea it is for them to be there. Athletes have probably wanted to quit the team so many times, but they can’t lose that full scholarship. Imagine the pressure they must feel?
When I came to Stony Brook, I was sure as anything that I was going to go to medical school. I wanted nothing more than to become a pediatric oncologist. I got to organic chemistry and I immediately changed my mind. I freaked out for a long time. I thought, “That’s all I was planning on. Now what?” Well I realized that if a semester of organic chemistry was enough to deter me from my dreams, they probably weren’t my dreams. Beyond that, I allowed myself to be open to new courses and new opportunities to figure out what my new route should be. I couldn’t deny my love for the medical field, so I decided to become a nurse instead. I plan on applying to SBU’s nursing school. With every hope of getting in, I sit here before you understanding that if I don’t, it’s not the end of the world. I will always figure it out and I will always find a way.
Stop being so self-deprecating. You got into college! That’s an accomplishment in itself! If you didn’t, you graduated high school! Many people don’t get to say that. You have the rest of your life to figure it out, and you will. Lastly, don’t compare yourself or your life to those of others. They’re just as lost as you are. Remember who you are and take advantage of the life you were given.
P.S. Adderall is not the answer unless your doctor says it is. Find another way.
The forever exhausted college student