Thursday, September 18, 2014

It's only high school: Part 3

Responding today to Prompt # 2:
Throwback time! Share an old class photo of yourself.
I'm not quite sure what to say about this snap. I was 17 - the same age, more or less, as the seniors I teach in Room 215. I was unsure, but cocky. I either chose to keep my guard up or spaced out what was happening to me on any given day, depending on my mood and my friends' demeanors.
Insecure? Yup. Unsure? Heck, yes. Liked to challenge authority? On more than one occasion. But unlike my cherubs of today, I don't remember being all wound up about college. I applied to three - one in my hometown, one about three hours down the road, and one all the way in Columbia, Missouri. And - you guessed it - I became a Missouri Tiger, mainly because the campus was far enough away.
I vaguely remember talking to my dad about Mizzou's sterling reputation as a repository of young journalistas, but don't recall ever getting my panties in a wad about my future.
Kids these days - to coin an overworn cliché - appear to have it all and are missing some key ingredients in the confidence category at the same time. Most of my cherubs apply to multiple colleges (seven or eight are not uncommon), and I once had a student who applied to 17. Yes, you read that correctly.
I like to tell my students that "It's only high school." The usual rejoinder? "Yeah, but I have to use high school to get into college, which determines how successful I'll be when I graduate." Well, maybe. But I don't think that's necessarily the case.
Studies show - and anecdotal evidence bears this out - that it's not which college one attends, but what one accomplishes at that college. One of my friends, who hires and fires for a living, once told me that she'd rather have an enthusiastic local college graduate than one who attended the Ivy League. The local grads, she said, are more willing to do the hard work it takes to be successful in this world.
But what do I know? I'm a child of the '70s and '80s. My curly locks were more reminiscent of old-school rocker Janis Joplin than anyone who wears a Brooks Brother suit to her Wall Street office. My job is to advise, and write the college rec letters, and squeeze one more drop of common-sense into my students' craniums before they head off to college.

This is the third time I've headlined a post in this space thusly. Because in Room 215, "It's only high school."


Jen E @ mommablogsalot said...

I only applied to a few colleges as well - I wasn't overly concerned about it either but I think I was rare in that case. And you know looking at what I've done with my degree (largely nothing) - I think I was right not to fret, but then my husband has done AMAZING things with his degree so I guess it's different for everyone.

TMW Hickman said...

Amazing what was important back then, compared to now.

Cute picture!

MrsTee said...

Kids, teenagers specifically, definitely have differnt goals than we used to. I know my college freshman is completely focused on where he is now but every now and then I remind him that also helps determine where he goes later.

Mama Kat said...

It's probably not okay to tell them that half of them won't use their degrees after college anyway...oh well. Love your photo!!


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