Stop Asking Me Questions About College, Please!

Hannah Ratzer, Writer

College is such a large part of a young person’s life, it’s hard not to be defined by it.

Sitting on my living room floor sorting through the countless mailers I received from colleges, I couldn’t help but sigh. Colleges ranging from the West Coast to the East Coast have all reached out, enticing me to go to their college.

It is overwhelming to think of how many choices there are ahead of me.

It seems like everyone in my life has questions for me about college. What are you going to study? Where are you going? Have you made your decision yet? Have you worked on your applications, Hannah?

Everyone and everything seems to have an opinion about where, and when, and how I should go to college, and with all of this, the thought of college easily becomes stressful.

Not to mention my own thoughts, doubts, and questions. Will I succeed? How far away from home do I want to go? What should I write this essay about? How am I going to balance what I want with what others want?

College has become a main focus of my life, pushing into every corner of my mind, as I constantly contemplate and worry about all I have to accomplish to guarantee my future.

All of these endless questions plague me and chip away at the back of my brain. It shouldn’t be unexpected that I don’t have answers. I don’t have everything figured out. I’m a 17-year-old girl who’s lived in Iowa for most of her life. As much as I hope for it, it’s hard to picture myself living in a city two to six hours away, with completely new people.

For years I have hated the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I was always the one who answered with the meek “I’m still thinking about it,” because I had no idea. This is still the case. The world of possibilities is way too large for me to try and box me into a career this early in life.

As I’ve gotten older, this question shifted to the dreaded “Do you know what you want to major in?”  It wasn’t until during my junior year that I figured out what I plan to study while in college. Even after figuring this out, and being excited to make a plan of what I wanted to study, this question still bothers me to the point that I wish this question wasn’t asked at all.

The focus of college shouldn’t be what I’m going to study or where I’m going to study it. I shouldn’t be defined by what I’m learning every day or the career I may have or the city in which I’ll attend school. I should be defined by what type of person I want to be and my growth as an individual.

As graduation season arrives this coming May, I’m sure I’ll get more and more of these questions shoved into my ear. I can’t wait to answer “Where are you going to college?”

I urge everyone to consider asking new questions. Questions that will create interesting answers. Ask questions with answers you won’t define someone by, but remember them by. Instead of remembering someone for their major or the college they plan to attend, choose to remember them for something else.

Don’t ask young kids to define their identity by a few college decisions, but instead by what kind of person they want to be.

What kind of person do you want to be?