The Pre-College Life | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

The Pre-College Life

Youth Media Project

At St. Andrew's, college is a pretty big deal. Students start getting ready for their higher education in about 10th grade, if not sooner. No school I'd ever attended was as serious about college preparation as this one; I was not prepared.

When it came to schoolwork, I had always been pretty laidback. I usually made pretty good grades, so my nonchalant attitude went somewhat unnoticed. Even when I made bad grades I still ended up okay. I can remember in 5th grade I made a 49 on a science test; that number was so ridiculously terrible that I was actually more amused than upset about the situation. When I took it home to my mother to sign she simply said, "Do better next time."

This is the attitude that my mother has always had toward me and my endeavors and I've always appreciated it. I thought that this was the best way to actually help a child through school. This way, I did not get fed up with school nor was I ever afraid to tell my mom about my grades. But we also didn't stress about being the best. Looking back on this sometimes, I wish this was a little different. My classmates at St. Andrew's all seem as if they have been competing for the top spot in the class for years. Frankly, I think this is somewhat ridiculous. Why would someone be competitive in school? It's not like a bad grade would kill them.

A few weeks ago, I started working on a list of colleges and their applications, well after most other seniors at my school. The applications called for me to list my accomplishments, academic honors, hobbies, activities, etc. Basically, I'm supposed to describe the positions that I've held and the awards that I've won. Now, I have done a good bit of things throughout high school, but none of it seemed like enough. The applications suggested using an extra sheet of paper to list additional things, but I barely even had enough to fill the provided spaces.

I went through a very arduous process struggling to make leadership positions out of minor jobs that I've done. Luckily, however, I have the Youth Media Project and the Civil Rights Civil Liberties Club to write about. After awhile I realized that sometimes quality is more important than quantity. So while some folks are concentrating on getting their numbers up, I'm concentrating on doing what I love.

For a little while though, my vision was blurred. I got caught up in this college race and tried to do lots of things for college, because all of the other students around me were doing it. They were just doing things to put on their résumés, but this just didn't feel right to me. I had to figure out for myself that there is not necessarily a right way to live. I just need to do what feels right to me, and those are the things that I actually enjoy; things that I care about.

I think this is the best way to be, although I felt momentarily disadvantaged. I would much rather be known for my passion, than to be known for trying to be known. Even though I probably won't be able to attend a very-competitive college next year, such as Princeton or Yale, I will still be able to be accepted into a pretty good college or university. Wherever it is, I will make the best out of it.

Support our reporting -- Follow the MFP.