YOUNG VOICES: What’s next for college-bound seniors?

2013-11-04T00:00:00Z YOUNG VOICES: What’s next for college-bound seniors?By Wendy Banta-Long nwitimes.com
November 04, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It’s November and time for some “big fish” seniors to seek a bigger pond. As many of us anticipate college, an uncertain and stressful atmosphere lingers in school hallways and classrooms. Students drill one another with “Where are you applying?” and “Really? I’ve never pinned you down for that school.” When asked, I thought, “Where am I going? Who do I really want to be, while aware of the assumptions and expectations from others?” During my college visits and meetings, I test the academic and social vibe, seeking out an ideal match.

Choosing the right college to attend greatly depends on who I am and what my values are.

To know what I want to be is very different from being who I am. By this, I mean a science whiz might love writing poetry while a graceful painter might find calculus exciting. I’m asking, “Who am I and what do I love to do?”

Exploring diverse interests helps narrow down passions and subject areas. My “perfect” college will provide support for these goals and views each student as a unique individual.

Showing improvement, positivity and hard work ranks higher than any one grade or score because those are qualities that help shape personality, beliefs and thus the person.

On my first college overnight stay, I arrived stressed out from heavy LA traffic, but was greeted by an open and friendly host. We talked over a wonderful dinner, met my host’s friends and another overnight guest, toured the local market, attended a meditation club and fell asleep in a comfortable dorm bed. The next day, I talked with a biology professor and visited her small class. Sitting in one of the back rows, I listened to students’ attitudes, opinions and class discussions, and noticed what shopping sites popped on some laptops.

Although the professor was one of many, her relationship with students seemed informal, yet respectful. After stimulating interviews with an admissions counselor and the swim coach, this college is higher in my priorities.

I really enjoy the small community culture while meeting new people and challenging ideas. With strong classmates, I expect to grow in knowing my inner self, intellectual interests and the outside world.

I want to remember what my passions and interests are this year and expect much will change in five years. Even if I don’t know exactly what I want right now, at least I know something: there are armfuls of options to explore.

So the best of luck to all students, not just to 2014 high school graduates! Discover yourself and embrace yourself everyday!

Wendy Banta-Long, of Chesterton, is a senior at Chesterton High School. The opinions are the writer's.

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