Forgoing the Present for the Future?


The optometrist returns after an examination and breaks the news. “You are too farsighted,” he says “though you have no problem seeing distant objects, the things that are near appear blurred.” He proceeds to write a prescription for glasses that should correct your vision.

Perhaps this prescription for glasses is just what a large number of high school students need. This does not mean students should take this literally and run to their nearest optician. Instead this situation is metaphorical for the specific outlook and attitude that many young adults take towards their lives. High school is a period filled with anticipation. We spend half our years, junior and senior, taking standardized tests for college admissions, filling out college applications, waiting for acceptance replies, and perhaps loading up on an abundance of additional AP courses. The previous half of the high school experience is spent expecting and preparing for this critical period ahead.

From a purely objective standpoint, there appears to be much effort and stress exerted on such anticipation, possibly to the point of being excessive. Each year, along with a growing number of college applicants, there exists a higher level of competitiveness. Because of this we are encouraged early on to decide. We decide which courses might look most impressive, which colleges to apply to, which colleges to attend, which majors we should look at, which profession we should enter into. When making such decisions it is important to consider whether we base choices on what we desire or what is desired of us.

Of course there is a healthy portion of students that are still undecided and unsure. This is completely understandable. At this point in life teenagers are still developing and discovering their own personal identities. It is important to be self-questioning. But there exists a major faction that appears so focused on the future that they fail to reflect and consider the present. Perhaps the uncertainty of what lies ahead is the driving force behind such excess preparation. We naturally crave the feeling of security but the undeniable truth is that no amount of preparation is equivalent to a guarantee. So with this in mind students should be advised: we only attend high school once and when we leave, it would be nice to come away with fond memories and a well-rounded high school experience