The biggest decision of your young adult life is deciding what your life after high school is going to look like. Most young adults, including myself, have been thinking about this one moment since middle school. Trying to figure out what we would go to school for, which school we would go to and how excited we would be to move on-campus and live the college experience. High school started, and on the first day of school, they talked about the credits you need and what you will need to be able to apply for college, so with that in your head since you are 14 you feel that pressure, whether you realize it or not. 

Junior year came around and that was when I really started to feel the pressure to start touring schools,  thinking about what I want to go to school for and taking the SATs. Junior year started and ended faster than I could have ever imagined, and I had no idea what I was going to do, and I was even second-guessing whether or not I wanted to go to college. When I really started to vocalize my decision of not exactly wanting to go during junior year, I got a lot of backlash from people who I really thought would give me support on my decision. That’s when I really forced myself to start applying to schools.

I eventually found a school that I really liked: Southern Connecticut State University. It was a place I could have seen myself at; it checked off all my boxes in what I wanted in a school, so I applied. I applied to SCSU and a few other schools in November so that I would find out what schools I got into before winter break because of the anxiety I got from waiting. I knew I would need to know what I got into early so that I wouldn’t be stressed out for the remainder of my senior year. The day before winter break started, I was sitting in my American Law class when I got my acceptance email for SCSU. I was so excited because I didn’t think I was actually going to get into any school I applied to, not because I didn’t have the grades or anything, I just had doubts that I wasn’t good enough. 

As I started the process of putting in my initial deposit for school, I hadn’t really told anyone because in the back of my mind it still just didn’t feel right. Something about the idea of going to college didn’t sit right. If someone asked me about school, it would seem to make me uncomfortable and I would avoid it even though I was getting into the schools I applied to. I didn’t fully accept what I had really wanted for myself. 

Society is constantly changing and one of the ways that it is happening is that people are constantly conforming to what is popular during that time, and the pressure of conforming to it is happening more than ever due to the media. People spend so much time consumed on their phones, and what they see on it and hope someone online might react to a decision that they made because they want the validation of others, even though that person won’t care after they see the post. I have been guilty of this idea as well as so many other people my age and even younger people. 

I had to take a step back, and really think about what would be good for me.

With reading that sentence you might have even formed an opinion on what you think will be best for me, even if you know me or not. Everyone has an opinion, whether you think it will be good for me to go to college because you think it is the proper way to set up my life, and that is the only way I will truly succeed in anything further I do in my life. Or you think not going to college is best for me because you think that real-life experiences are the best  ways to learn about the real world as well as yourself.

Those are the opinions I have been fed with since I learned about college and life after high school in middle school. Constantly hearing everyone else’s decisions for your life and what it should look like without even fully knowing you as a person, what your values are and what your dreams are, can really dim a light in your own life; because they did for me. I conformed myself into something I wasn’t so that people wouldn’t judge me, so that I wouldn’t get yelled at by people I care about because I didn’t choose the path that they wanted me to go with. I already knew I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t satisfied with what my life was going to be like.

So, I decided not to go. I thought that I would need to explain myself to everyone and apologize for it; but why do I need to apologize to someone for something that has nothing to do with them? Life is worth so much more than just conforming to what people do, and feeding off of the validation of others rather than validating your own decisions in life. I want to do what makes me happy; and that might not look the same as what makes someone else happy. But that’s okay because everyone is on a different path in life.

Am I terrified about what my future will look like, of course, because no one knows exactly what their future will look like. But I am ready to live; regardless of what happens I have faith in my decision regardless if anyone else has faith in it nor me. 

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