Toughing Out the Junior Year College Frenzy

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G. Reyes/MCT

Reese Levine, Staff Writer

As a second semester junior there are two big academic dilemmas that are constantly being brought up in conversation. The first of course is the SAT: how are you studying, what’d you get, and what college will this score get me into? And the second looming topic is getting into college.

Last week over spring break, most of my friends spent at least some of the time off visiting colleges, traveling all over California and the country to go on tours. I, however, spent my time relaxing at home and not thinking about school at all. No, I have not already decided, and unlike most, I’m not worried about it.

For the past 17 years of my life, my path has been planned meticulously, from preschool to elementary school to middle school to high school. But now I will decide my own path, with some help from cold-hearted admissions officers across the country. This is a frightening prospect, and one that sometimes leaves me prostrate on my bed in the morning, unable to move.

Put a teenager in a room and tell him that within the next four years he’ll have to decide what he wants to do for the next 40 to 50 years and understandably most of the time he’ll start freaking out. The best situation would be to create a mega-popular company like Facebook and end up a billionaire, and believe me, I’m trying.

It’d probably be a good idea to go out and explore my options, and I have spent time researching prospective colleges on the Internet. As of yet though, I have not personally gone to colleges for the sole purpose of scouting them out. Whether or not I will regret this decision, I will find out later, but so far, I have seen no benefit in doing so.

Overall, if you discount the most elite schools, it seems to me that the basic level of education you get at most any college in America is about the same, although what general subject area each one focuses on does differ, especially among private schools. What this leaves in factors to consider are weather, geography, student composition, and most importantly, quality of food.

I know that in Orinda selecting the right college, one that does honor to you and your family, is a big deal, but I am lucky that my parents do not pressure me to get into a big Ivy League or private school. They would be just as happy if I end up going to DVC than if I do attend Harvard or Stanford… that is, as long as I move out of the house right away.

To be honest, community college does hold a certain appeal. While you don’t get to brag about the big four-year school you got into, it does allow you to continue learning in a more relaxed, less pressure environment, and almost guarantees you entry into a four-year school after two years. Additionally, with the extra time you can get a job and gain important work experience, something that many university students miss out on.

Overall though, I’m not too worried about college. I know that wherever I end up I’ll have made the right decision and will be happy. It may be hard to believe when you, your parents, teachers, counselors, and media are all putting the pressure on, but it will all turn out okay. So for now, I’m putting college on the back burner as I focus on getting through the rest of junior year intact. Maybe afterwards,  I’ll drive out to UC Berkeley and take a look around.