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Less than 50 days until classes start. Less than 50 days until I officially start college. Up until May 23, my life goal was to graduate high school and get into college, a college far away from Los Alamos and New Mexico. That’s happened.
Now I’m going to college at Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y. Ever since sometime in elementary school, I’ve wanted to leave Los Alamos and see the world.
I don’t really know what exactly is going to happen next in my life. I’ve recovered from the stress and chaos of junior and senior years of high school: Taking SATs, ACT, searching the Internet and college guide books to create a list of schools, narrowing down the list of schools and trips to look at campuses. Junior year and the first quarter of senior year were a blur of schoolwork, extracurricular activities, a social life and occasionally those few precious hours of sleep. Then finally during that second and part of third quarters of senior year the application process began. It wasn’t until after the “submit” button was hit on the applications in mid-January that the stress finally began to melt away a little bit.
All I had to do was to wait until those fateful days at the end of March and beginning of April, when my fate for the next four years would be revealed. For those reading this who might be entering into that last year of high school, those last two months of school seem really pointless once you’ve gotten the acceptance and rejection letters, and sent in the deposit to the school you end up deciding to go to. Those last two months, for me at least, could have been considered more stressful than all those previous months.
Fighting to keep my GPA where it was, studying for AP exams, and completing those last projects, tests and assignments. It doesn’t seem like all that much work, but once bitten by the senioritis bug, anything relating to school can seem like a monumental task.
Yet, if you take a step back, all those last weeks of high school aren’t all that bad, because they are the last weeks. Then comes that all-important day, graduation; the day where you get to say to the world, “I survived 12 years of state and federally mandated schooling. The world is now mine for the taking.”
Two weeks ago I was at my college orientation. To understand what the orientation was like, imagine going to a college fair, but the only college that’s there is the one you are attending.
That’s the kind of information overload I ended up with. Sessions ranging from the official welcome to the college, to what you need to know about getting a job on campus, to meeting with an academic advisor, with the whole orientation ending with class registration and picking up your identification.
My orientation was spread out over three days, so included with information overload was meeting fellow classmates, staying in one of the dorms and wondering around campus getting acquainted with the place.
The last night we were in small groups, two orientation leaders and about 20 other incoming students. One of the other students made the comment that the whole orientation process in the middle of the summer was a tease. It was tease, because we were staying on campus, eating in a dining hall and figuring things out for our selves without the help of parents.
Less than 50 days for me until I return to that liberating and slightly scary feeling of having the whole world at my feet.
The past 12 years have been a preparation for this, there are days where I don’t really know what is going to happen.
Ready…set…here I come, college.
Editor’s Note: Christina Dey is an intern at the Monitor this summer. Having graduated in the Class of ’09, she was asked to describe her transition to college.