I have a confession: my entire high school career, perhaps even all of my life as I know it, had always been geared towards the eventual moment of my college acceptance.
Academic achievement and the importance of higher education were both very important values in the community in which I grew up. The idea was that you reaped what you sowed. The fierce competition of many of my peers generated a sentiment that your self-worth could be numerically derived from your grade point average (GPA). I often struggled with some of the high-pressure, at times even ruthless, practices that this belief entailed. Nonetheless, you can never completely throw off the values instilled in you at a young age, and so I ran the rat race with everything I had.
I can’t say I’ve always done my absolute best in everything, but I did work particularly hard during my last two years at Lawrence Woodmere Academy. It seemed that the work paid off when I was finally accepted into a college under early decision. But after the initial joy, and I admit, relief, came a sense of ambivalence — I felt, for the first time, just a little lost.
It could be that my bout of “college fever” had passed only for me to be cruelly stricken with a case of senioritis, made only the more pitiful by its utter banality. The symptoms seemed about right: the long binges of television-watching, a new aversion to daylight.
But despite its similarities, my condition was not quite the same monster as that great slayer of seniors. Still present within me was a struggle against the horrors of utter indolence and, heaven forbid, a slumping GPA. However, the old impulse to defend my academic life at the first hint of threat against it was curiously absent. In its place was a sort of slow inquisitiveness, something that watches rather than springs. The exact state of my said academics was less of an all-consuming preoccupation.