No one ever told me how difficult life was going to be once I left the comforts of my own home. I am sure my parents did the best they could in preparing me for life’s trials and tribulations, but no one told me about the small things along the way. These things are the essentials to being a grown up: credit card bills, student loans, paying rent, buying your own groceries and so on. I wish someone had sat me down and had given me a stern talking to about what to expect.
I am a 26-year-old super senior here at Eastern Mennonite University and I have seen a lot of younger students so caught up in university life that I think they fail to realize what is going to happen to them as soon as they walk across that stage and accept their more than one hundred thousand dollar degree: real life.
Now, I am not downing anyone from the ages of 18 to 22 for having no cares in the world and living for the moment, but what is so frustrating for me is seeing all those students who do not have to worry about the things I do. I am partly to blame for putting myself in this situation; I had my go at college the first time back in 2005 and totally took it for granted and threw it all out the window. I had too much fun and did not have a clue where I wanted to go in life. And to be honest, that is okay and only normal for an 18-year-old kid who is all of a sudden making grown up decisions. That is what we do as Americans. Somewhere along the line it has been engrained into our brains that we are to go to college right after we graduate high school and spend the next four years trying to “find” ourselves. Looking back, I wish I had never gone to college the first two years out of high school. I wish I had traveled or moved to some foreign country or just spent some time away from education all together. But wishing for something like that is foolish; we cannot undo the past. There are no redos in life, but I can share my past with someone who is willing to listen.
Who knows, maybe there is a student that will pick up this issue of the Weather Vane, read this opinion piece, and it will hit them like a lightning bolt. They will realize it is okay not to know what they want to do in life just yet, and taking a year off sure would save them a ton of money and it would give them the sensation that they are not wrong in wanting to live a little. Too many times, we are pressured into higher education and forced to grow up way too fast. Somewhere in our society we forgot to value people’s common sense over knowledge you have to pay through the nose for. Life is not easy, unless you are a trust fund baby or your parents pay for everything.
Life does get interesting once you leave college. You are able to put yourself in situations that showcase your talents and beliefs. You are able to make choices that will dictate your future. You can do anything you set your mind to as long as you pay your taxes and support your local sheriff. I try to make sense of the mistakes I made when I was 18 and to be honest, I cannot vouch for them. There is a quote by George Bernard Shaw, however, that reads, “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
-Devin Hall, Staff Writer
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