An Open Letter to All the People Pestering Me About College

by Jane Krol

If you know anything about being a high school student on the cusp of entering senior year, you know this is prime time to bombard us juniors with questions regarding college plans. First, it begins with something like, “So what grade are you in?” Only to be followed immediately with the “ You must be thinking about college then” phrase. Which, might I say, is loosely and obliviously used.

Behind the word ‘college’, comes massive waves (or a tsunami rather), of stress and anxiety, that could only be felt by a simple 17 year old just trying to make it through high school.  But what’s the harm in asking, right? You’re not going through a never-ending interrogation. I mean it’s not like you’re asking me to make life changing, adult-like, decisions or anything, right?

I notice this college talk makes most of its appearances at family events at which I will continue to further isolate myself. The  family gatherings are  essentially death traps where I’m  asked the college question not once, not twice, but ad nauseam. To the point where I will, in fact, find an escape route, even if it means having to break one of my aunt’s precious pieces of china to cause a diversion. Seriously, just stop. Perhaps you can comment on my newest thrift store findings or ask me my opinion on the upcoming political race; just please avoid college discussion at all costs.

When the question becomes “What college are you considering?”, my patience simply just melts away.  While I don’t doubt that some students would love to boast and talk about their paths towards an Ivy med school program, regrettably, that is not the reality for most of my peers.  But for me, the whole, “I’m keeping my options open. I’m just not entirely sure yet” act is meeting a dead end. I feel like my vague, yet completely accurate response is not a satisfactory answer and causes the questioner to keep asking unwanted questions!

Last but certainly not least, I don’t find it necessary to share my life decisions beyond my own bubble of influence (parents, teachers, counselors). Especially since I’m often questioned by random people who I just met. I don’t need you to critique my future plans.  Frankly, the constant pestering is clearly just an outlet for you to explore something I’ve already made clear I don’t want to speak about, and therefore uncomfortable for us both. So ultimately, just don’t ask me about college. Please and thank you!

As teenage protagonist Daria Morgendorffer so brilliantly states, “My goal is not to wake up at 40 with the bitter realization that I’ve wasted my life in a job I hate because I was forced to decide on a career in my teens.” The college application process  is not meant to be reckoned with, so beware of your nosiness. I am willing to give you an overview when I arrive at a set path, but I am not your personal correspondent or middleman in this situation as of now.