COLLEGE: Stop Stressing it!

Gema is a 20-year old from Miami, FL. Reads like a maniac. Writes for sanity. It’s a fine line and she loves erasing it.


Grip the edge of your seat. I’m going to say something a bit shocking and I don’t want any of you to fall over: Where you go to college is not a big deal. Now, hear me out before you ignite those torches. I’m not saying that college isn’t necessary. I just don’t think kids and teens should be stressed to the point of anxiety and nightmares about getting into that top perfect school.


The amount of stress put on kids to find the “perfect” college is downright ridiculous. I say “kids” because I started to hear about the importance of Harvard and Yale in the second grade, when I had to take an elementary version of the SAT. I was introduced to the mantra then, “fail this, and you’ll never get into an ivy league college.” THIS was any exam the school board decided we had to take and tossed it to us like moldy meat to starving hounds. We ripped and chewed the meat, convinced that it would satisfy our hunger, the need to get into a top college. We didn’t know what qualities pushed the college up these arbitrary lists, we just knew we had to get there.


A school is a school. Every level of college has a list of required classes that each major needs to fulfill in order to get their degree. So what’s the stress on going to a top school? Because it looks good in your resumé? What employers care about is work experience. Your volunteer work and internships. They also care about work ethic. A degree from Harvard won’t do any good if you’re always late for work and constantly vomiting up useless excuses. There’s also the idea that you’ll learn more in what others believe is a better school. But stone walls and pretty brochures will not cram lessons into your head. Professors will. And every school has its batch of good ones and bad ones. You have to research the professors in places like if that’s your concern. You can’t expect every top school to have the only good teachers in the country, just like you can’t expect all the lesser known schools to only hire the worst.


Where you go to college will not dictate your future. In fact, not even your major will. The store manager at my local Macy’s has a degree is biology. An entrepreneur I know owns two apartment buildings and rents out two homes majored in photography. Our own Vanessa Van Petten majored in Chinese and is now a successful youthologist. The college and the major you pick will not bind and kidnap you to do its will. You are not choosing your prison. You create your future, re-design it if your dreams change.


So where do you go to college then? I think the college experience is more important than the college itself. You have to grow up, learn to do things without mommy and daddy close by. Gain independence and become into your own person. Whether you want to do that out-of-state or in the neighboring city, do it where you will feel the most comfortable, not where some almighty college list says you should. You’re the one that has to live there for four years, or two years if you decide to save some money by getting your AA at a community college first. Just remember that it’s your life and your future, and you can get ahead anywhere if you really want to. Stop stressing.

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