Everyone’s favorite question to ask when they find out that you’ve just graduated from high school always seems to be, “So where are you going to college?” A lot of kids in my class of 2004 had good answers to that question, answers that made their parent’s proud and impressed their friends. The only thing I could say was “I’m taking a year off…” And half of the time I couldn’t even get that much out before someone gave me a disapproving scowl and launched into all of the stories they’ve ever heard about kids who ended up in dead end situations because they took time off from school. There were a select few who reacted as if I were making a wise decision, but for the most part it was all disappointment and shaking of the head.
The fall after graduation I got a full-time job at a reputable company, receiving a higher pay than I thought I deserved and a pretty nice benefits package. I learned about the world of business, that adults aren’t all that much different from teenagers, and I memorized plenty of medical insurance jargon that I’m sure I will never need to use again. What ended up being most important though is that I learned about the value of moving at one’s own pace. If I had forced myself to keep up with my peers, I would have been floundering by the end of the first week of classes. I wasn’t ready and I was in a position where my parents supported my decisions, allowing me to make up my own mind. Besides, most of my peers had left their homes to spend thousands of their parent’s dollars, thinking they knew what the real world was about only to realize that they didn’t know what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives (who would have thought?), or how they would actually use their expensive degree.
I actually started college this past Fall, having saved up my own resources and having come to a place where I felt ready to go back to school. I still waver between which major(s) I will decide on and whether I’ll even continue in my pursuit of a college education. I know that having a career so as to support myself for years to come is an important asset, but I can’t bring myself to rush through four years of school just so I can have a piece of paper telling people they should hire me. I believe in taking my time in making the big decisions in my life, even if patience isn’t always a virtue I possess easily. I believe that in order to truly soak it all in, whether it is academic knowledge or life’s big lessons, I can’t just run full steam ahead. I might not be able to keep up with everyone else through life’s ventures, but I know that I will get what I need when it comes. Everything else can wait.
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