Why It Can Be Too Soon to Start Preparing for College


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A college campus somewhere.

Kennedy Davey, Staff Writer

Some of my earliest school memories include counselors coming into my classroom and telling us that “It’s never too soon to start thinking about college!” They intended to get kids thinking about their future, but it just caused stress and anxiety at a young age. I remember feeling lost and confused because I didn’t know what I wanted to major in as a third grader. No kid should have to worry about not having their life all figured out.

Another core memory took place in fifth grade. It was around the time we got to pick our classes for middle school. I got to start taking classes I wanted to take, not classes that were mandated. In elementary school, we all took the same classes; art, music, PE, etc. But in middle school, I could pick any class I wanted. There was one problem: I had no clue what to pick. Up until then, everything I did had been decided by others. Sure, I knew that I didn’t like art class, but there were too many options. That started an ongoing problem that I still haven’t quite figured out: what I want to do with my life.

That seems vague, I know. Does anyone really know what they’re doing? That’s what I told myself throughout middle school when I took more classes and got no closer to figuring out what I wanted to do. Eventually, I was in 8th grade, with very limited ideas. Onto high school I went, choosing random classes that could potentially be interesting. This is where I am now, no closer to figuring out what career I might want to pursue. 

Everywhere I look it seems like people know what they want to do with their lives. Realistically, I know they are probably as lost as me, but the loud voice in the back of my head says, “Look at them! Why can’t you be more like that?” It seems like everyone can turn hobbies into careers, whereas I’ve been playing sports since I was a kid. That has taken up most of my time, and I love it. However, it’s not something I would make a career out of. 

I’m still very stressed about college. There are so many majors and so many universities. I could go in-state, out of state, to a public, private, or community college. There are also several post-secondary options that don’t include college, like joining the military, going to trade school, joining the workforce, and more. The possibilities are endless, and I’m still terrified to go down that rabbit hole. So if telling little kids about college doesn’t help, why do we do it?

I think adults don’t understand that even at a young age, we still feel this pressure. The future is scary to kids, which is why we were so spontaneous. We didn’t want to think about the future, instead of wanting to live in the present. Taking kids out of their comfort zone can be beneficial, but in this case, it just caused stress and anxiety in our early years.

Overall, I’ve been told about college as far back as I can remember, and it hasn’t had any benefits. I’ve just been more stressed and anxious when it comes to college, and I still don’t know what I’m doing. So, it can be too soon to start preparing for college.