While reading one high school senior’s musings on being trapped as a “prisoner” by the college admissions process, I was bothered by the author’s whiney attitude towards writing application essays. This kid was complaining about sacrificing just a few days of what was supposed to be his “carefree” senior year of high school on “lockdown.” His tone would suggest those days consisted of mild torture, though in reality the painful experience he spoke of was actually contributing to a great privilege that, unfortunately, many young people take for granted. If just writing a few application essays was enough to elicit such a negative reaction (and get it published in the New York Times), I can’t imagine how much this guy is going to huff and puff when his actual schoolwork in college requires him to sacrifice his precious “hanging out” time because, really, that’s what college is all about to kids these days.
One commenter aptly captured what I found so terribly wrong with the piece:
I have a hard time feeling sympathy for Mr. Hazel. Where is it written or promised that senior year should be “carefree?” He highlights, perhaps unknowingly, a major problem with our kids, our parents, our educational system, and our society. Why should a whole year of school be considered irrelevant?
I was probably just as annoyed by having to write college essays as Kori Hazel. I was also too intimidated by three-hour long science labs in college, and the resulting dent it would put in my free time, to pursue a science major that may have been more useful than my political science and psychology degrees in terms of securing work after graduation. I was naïve and selfish, like many college students are encouraged to be.
It’s not until the shock of the “real world” sets in that many young people are awakened to the fact that high school and college don’t even come close to mimicking the hard work, responsibility and struggles of adulthood.
Someday, this kid will be longing for the days of “lockdown,” when his only concern was writing a 500-word essay describing an experience that most shaped his character.