As young children never wanting to let go of our parents’ fingers, we all dreamed big. Our parents’ love and encouragement made us believe that we could be the President. The Movie Star. The richest person on earth. As we grow older, these dreams are often shattered by the reality of probability and the awareness of opportunities. No matter what our future goals, we are told one thing. “You must go to college to be successful”.
This seems like the most difficult statement to understand as we are comfortable teenagers protected by the doors of our homes and the walls of the familiar high schools. Why do I have to leave? Why do I have to start over? Going to school with the same friends for years, and having parents or guardians to guide us seems like too good of a deal to leave behind. We all think that we have excellent maturity and can handle anything that life throws our way. However, it is sometimes important to wonder, have we really experienced everything that life has to offer?
That’s where college comes in and offers us something vitally important-experience. Experience makes us wiser. Experience makes us stronger, and more willing to persevere. Taking the sometimes impossibly difficult classes, meeting people from all over the world, and travelling to the most remote places, each day of the 4 years of college brings something new, something we have never experienced before. The long exam week, the diverse student body, the community activities done through various clubs, team work established between peers, knowledge gained through experiments, relationships and networks created - all of this and more changes us into strong, skilled citizens. We are then truly equipped to handle all of the world’s problems.
President Obama attended Occidental College, got his BA from Columbia University, and studied Law at Harvard. Julia Roberts attended Georgia State University. Finally, Bill Gates attended Harvard. Suddenly, the dreams of being the future president, a movie start, and the richest man in the world don’t seem so impossible. While it is true that we grow the most in the first few months after we are born, college is the time for one to grow the most as a person. Without this growth, the remote dreams of our childhoods seem to remain distant.
As high school seniors it is difficult to understand why we must work so hard to get into a college of our dreams. The grades aren’t enough to get us in. We must have extracurricular activities, do well on the SATs or the ACTs, fill out numerous applications, etc. However, the simple word ‘college’ does not justify the prestigious and significant portion of our lives that the word brings with it. College is important. College is crucial. Why? Well, there is no better way to seek an answer to that question than to live through it.