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College looms, but keep cool

Teen columnist

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

William Shakespeare

As a high school senior on the verge of graduation, I experience the daily emotional roller coaster associated with the prospect of college.

Some view the transition as a welcome change: a chance to finally leave home and be independent.

Others see it as daunting: a huge leap from the sacred protection of the home to the craziness of dorm life with fellow undergraduates.

Still others utilize the tail end of their high school years as a period of reflection, self-evaluation and decision-making, constantly worrying about which college will be the best fit.

Regardless of which school of thought you may fall into, it’s easy to get stressed out and caught up in small things. Thus I have a message for all high school seniors: Appreciate what you have.

Take some time to just sit back and put things in perspective.

If you’re eager to leave home and scurry off to the other side of the country, stop and think for a minute. Think about the increased work you’ll have in college. Think about doing your own laundry, about managing your student loans and other finances.

Think about all the extra responsibilities you’ll have as an adult that you’ve never really had to worry about.

Believe me, I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade – I’m as excited as anyone to experience college life. But remember, as my parents have always said, your years in high school are four of the best years of your life. It’s important to enjoy every minute, especially as the end draws closer.

If you’re a person who finds the idea of college intimidating and the thought of dorm life unattractive, remember how lucky you are.

Access to higher education is not a punishment, but a blessing. Most people would agree that being with friends is a wonderful use of time. Now imagine living and learning with your friends 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Welcome to college life.

What if you’re really attached to your family – then where’s the upside of college? Remember you can always go to an in-state college and visit your family frequently. So rather than worry about the future, embrace the present.

What if you’re stuck living at home while attending an in-state college even though you would like nothing more than to live in a dorm with friends? Remember first and foremost that thousands of people out there would love to be burdened with such a “problem,” and look at your situation as an opportunity to build an even closer relationship with your family.

Close-knit families are becoming less and less common nowadays, so seize the chance to develop a deep-rooted bond with your family members. After all, in times of need, they will always be there for you.

And finally, to those who have to decide between multiple offers of admission: Enjoy your success without letting it get to your head. Do not forget about all the teachers, coaches, mentors and peers who helped you achieve great things.

Appreciate the opportunities you’ve been given and realize the situation you find yourself in is a blessing. Though you may worry about choosing the wrong college and later regretting your decision, step back for a moment and ponder your situation.

Choosing between many colleges is anything but an annoying task. This school year, a good friend of mine asked me a question that I will now pose to you: How many people do you know who say they did not enjoy college or are unhappy with their undergraduate home? I suspect for most, the answer is close to zero. So remember, everything will work out for the best. And for now, just find pleasure in everyday life.

Regardless of your situation, it’s important to look at the positives in life. As a senior on the cusp of college, you will feel a variety of emotions every day. Stay happy by living in the present and enjoying the wonderful things about high school life – because before we know it, it’ll be gone.

I’m still shocked at the thought that come the end of May, I will have completed high school and life will never be the same. I know many seniors share these feelings with me.

But no matter what happens from now on, make sure to remember this: The happiest people are not those who have the best things in life. They simply appreciate what they find along the way. Savor the moment.

Ravi Ram is a senior at Catalina Foothills High School.

E-mail: cricketer5@comcast.net

If you’re eager to leave home and scurry off to the other side of the country, stop and think for a minute.

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