Lately I’ve been contemplating why I am even in college. It started off as one of those, “I should just drop out” rants you have with your friends when you’re fed up with school. But now, it’s progressed to a state of complete contemplation. I can’t help but question my very own place in the world. I’m not sure if school will lead me to everything I want. Or maybe it’s just because I’m at the end of the second semester. Either way, these thoughts of a life without college are becoming more attractive by the day.
My close friends always regard me as the one who’s got her shit together. They look up to me as the role model. I’m supposed to be the all-star student, the one that people’s parents wish they had as a child. But little does everyone know, this diligent student suffers from thoughts of another way of life: no college.
I’m not exactly sure when these forbidden thoughts started or what brought them on. It’s not as simple as feeling tired of doing school work. I feel more than that. I feel as though college is leading me somewhere I’m not sure I want to be. Do I want to be a journalism major? Do I want to go to law school? Not really. I’m only painting those pictures in my head because I’ve been told it’s the right thing to think, but where do my own choices come in.
A lot of us have been programmed from day one—Go to college. Go to graduate school. Get a job. Work for the rest of your life. Retire. Become too old to truly enjoy everything life has to offer. I’ve reached the point where I believe there has to be a way of life without going from broke college student to broke college dropout.
When I explained to my mom how there’s no point in college, I avoided eye contact. I knew she would give me that motherly look all moms give when they think their children have absolutely lost their minds. Just like I predicted, she raised an eyebrow and glared at me until I was forced to say, “April Fool’s!” I caved under the scrutiny and laughed it off. As I walked away feeling the pains of defeat, I couldn’t help but think my thoughts of this utopian lifestyle had to be forgotten.
My friends, on the other hand, think I’ve worked too hard, and I might be feeling burnt out. That could be the case, or I could just really want to take time to myself and live in my fantasy world of not going to school. But who would dare say that to people who believe that you’ve got life all figured out? So, I just toss aside those thoughts for the time being and I dive back into finishing that five page paper for my African-American Studies class.
I can’t help but think if I could have it all my way, I’d be somewhere on a beach right now. Just watching the sun make its daily appearance on the horizon and then watching it fade away. Those beautiful sunset colors turning into deep blue allowing the night stars to make their presence known. But, society has deemed this dream life unfit. We cannot spend our days gazing at the colors in the sky. Days writing about what keeps us awake at night? Oh, no. That dream must be deferred.
I’m scared if I finish out my school year and go off to find my job, I’ll be so caught up in life itself that I’ll forget what it means to sit and breathe. I might forget that I love writing just for the sake of writing and not just to cover the latest news. I might forget that I love to sing. Not the awful shower singing that most people do—the singing that comes from feeling something. I might forget that I love to read. Not those ridiculously expensive textbooks, but the novels that help me to escape reality. I’m scared of losing myself to this idea that college is the only way.
So here’s my game plan: After I turn in my last final, I’m going to plan out a vacation or two. Just to sit and enjoy life. Us college kids should remember that as we pursue our dream jobs, we should take time to enjoy the present moment. Or you’ll end up looking back on life asking, “Where did the time go?”