The teenage years are a confusing stage of life sometimes - and I don’t mean just the “angst”, emotional changes, puberty, etc.
The people around you play a huge part of influencing your outlook on life and on yourself during these formative years. Unfortunately, we often receive mixed messages about many things, including, but not limited to, how we should act, what our responsibilities are, and how far ahead we should plan for the future. One the one hand, there is the ever present notion that teenagers are “too young” and must have numerous restrictions, whether legal or implemented by parents and guardians, be implemented. At the same time, however, there is the often unspoken idea that since you are no longer a child, you should be making the “right” decisions and be planning for the future. As a senior currently applying to colleges, I and many others feel the latter more distinctly nowadays.
As many would agree, applying to colleges is not a very fun process. It is, in a way, a very extensive introduction into how applications and the real world in general works. At times, it may feel like there is a lot of external pressure put on you to figure out what you want to do in life, in terms of picking your college major and even planning your career path. Besides being the transition to the “real world,” college is a very large financial and time investment. Granted, there are often helpful resources and advice reaffirming that going to college, what major you pick, etc. is not something to obsess over at this age. However, the general culture around the whole process makes it seem as if it is one of the most critical assignments you will complete in your life!
However, if you detach yourself for a moment from the present, you’ll see that applying to and going to college is a very small part of our entire life. It does not truly determine what will happen long-term or define what we are capable of or who we are. I know this sounds really cliche and cringy, but it’s important to know that, in the grand scheme of things, what might seem super important now likely won’t be in a few years.
The point of this article is certainly not to attempt you to disregard academic, familial, or other such responsibilities. So, if you want to plan things out and feel better by doing so, by all means, that is a great thing to do. It would be hypocritical if I didn’t say that I wasn’t a planner and that I don’t worry about what lies ahead. Nevertheless, I just wanted to pop in and say that, while it may not seem like it at the moment, you can relax a bit and just enjoy life because, really, the present moment is all that is definite and sure. We only get one chance to be teenagers and even with all its confusing moments, it can be an amazing stage of our lives if we try to live in the moment. With that, I leave you with this final phrase: carpe diem. Seize the day!