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The education machine: Use the system to buck the system

As my high school career comes to a close and the college decision looms overhead, I have to admit that I am thoroughly and incredibly excited.

I will no longer have to succumb to the useless, time-consuming requirements of high school or obey the ridiculous rules of my parents. I will be independent and liberated - living on my own without limitations or regulations. I won't have to worry about curfews, driving privileges or chores. I will be thrilled to have my own place, new friends, interesting courses, a beautiful college campus and the ability to do basically whatever I want without needing superior approval.

Yet amidst all of this enthusiasm, there is a glitch that refuses to subside, a growing bubble that will not cease to remind me of my true feelings about leaving home: I am absolutely terrified.

I have never needed to buy my own food or pay my own bills. I have never been without limitation. Though that may seem like an intriguing concept, who is to say that having limits isn't beneficial? I will be miles from home, in an unfamiliar and intimidating territory. I have no idea what to expect. What if my roommate is completely unbearable? What if I can't choose a major? And who will be there to catch the spiders in my bedroom?

Above all, however, I think I am afraid of the future: of deciding which path to follow, and of staying true to my personal goals instead of conforming to the expectations that surround me.

Recently, I've been realizing several flaws in this system that continue to irritate me. It seems as though my entire life, and the lives of others my age, thus far has been regulated for one purpose: to get into college. I went to elementary school and middle school to learn tools necessary for high school, where I took required classes with pressures for a high GPA and learned how to apply, be accepted, and excel in a university or college.

Now I will go to whatever college I choose, where I will decide on a major, participate in relevant courses, graduate with a degree for a particular career and be quickly on my way to becoming a functional member of society. Why does it seem that this is the only reason for education? Students in the educational system of ancient Greece originally took classes on philosophy, ethics and morals - courses that were designed simply to create more enlightened human beings.

Certainly that is not the objective of schools today.

What use will I have for most of my classes, except to be able to work, contribute to the economy and ultimately be a cog in the gears of society? I'm 18 years old, and I have hopefully many, many years ahead of me, yet I am already being forced to decide what I will do for the rest of my life. I am finally starting to feel the pressures of a system that I have discovered does not aim to benefit me as a person but solely to benefit the societal population as a whole.

In the fall, I will go to college and eventually I will graduate with a degree, good grades and a designated major. I will follow the civilized expectations for a while, but I hope afterward to contribute to a world that they frequently overshadow.

A shockingly large percentage of the globe is suffering, painted over and ignored by the societies that serve only for themselves. My entire school career has been geared toward finding a place in these societies, yet I will instead guide my life toward finding a place outside of them.

I am excited for college, because it is another step away from the wearisome educational pattern. And I am afraid of college, because it is still a part of that pattern, because I have never learned how to survive without that regulation.

But I have confidence in my abilities, and I am certain that my life will follow a path I have created myself, instead of a path that has been laid out for me.