My Identity Crisis: Inside the Head of a Senior

The edge of adulthood brings a lot of confusion, apprehension, and cautious excitement.

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My Identity Crisis: Inside the Head of a Senior

Liam Gill, Reporter

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I’ve gone to Brookfield Academy for thirteen years – fourteen including this year. I’m a “lifer.” The majority of my life has been spent somewhere on this 117 acre campus, and the time has come for me to move on from it.

College has always been something on my mind to varying degrees – unsurprising, considering BA is a college preparatory school after all. My understanding of what college even is has grown with time, evolving from this abstract and mysterious thing that only the “adults” like my four older siblings had to worry about to a major milestone in my life, one that marks a pivotal step in my transition into adulthood, one that will soon become reality. Like, really soon. Uncomfortably soon.

Reminiscence is a natural but volatile part of this point in high school; graduation means parting ways with the people and the places that have your world during your most formative years. I’d venture to say even those who can hardly wait to leave their hometown behind for their first taste of adulthood experience their fair share of nostalgia.  I’m a naturally anxious person, and I find myself thinking about all times but the present more than I’d like to admit. Reminiscence comes with nostalgia, and too much nostalgia brings sadness. Not the soul crushing void-like sadness of major depression or anything, but more of a bittersweet sadness that these things you remember will forever remain in the past. It robs you of the value of the mindfulness of being present – something a lot of people, myself included, neglect.

I remember at Freshman orientation, Ms. Renkert said something about how when, in retrospect, you put your time in high school back to back, it only amounts to four months. I took it literally at the time and thought she was crazy for a solid week after that, but realized it was figurative. Still, though, I didn’t really know what she meant by it; four years is a really long time.

But I’m starting to get it. You get used to being able to ignore the reality of your impending future after a while. Seeing three classes of seniors graduate isn’t even enough to make you pay attention to it; it’s only when you’re actually at that point in your life that it becomes real, and, if you’re anything like me, it hits you like a tidal wave of weird emotions and uncertainty.

I’m finishing up my college applications now, and I really thought I would feel more excited than I am; applications are redundant and boring, and after this week I’ll probably never have to log into my Common App profile ever again. Excitement isn’t exactly the foremost feeling I have right now. More than anything, I’ve felt apprehension and uncertainty. Why?

I can’t say with confidence I feel that much passion for the schools I’ve applied to. If someone asked me which one I would choose if I had to start tomorrow, I’d probably stutter for five minutes and get really sweaty and then say some kind of weird and obscure ironic meme until they got uncomfortable and left. I’m excited for college, yeah, for making new friends, for getting to live on my own for the first time, for beginning to find my place in the world. It’s just that I’ve never had to make a decision like this before. I’ve never been in a situation where the next four years of my life aren’t much planned out and laid out in front of me. I feel like I know myself pretty well and know the value of introspection, but I’ve never been challenged like this before. I’m in the same boat with a lot of 18 year olds that don’t even fully know themselves yet, let alone what the future has in store for them. It’s stupid to let such an ordinary and expected part of this process take away from my enjoying the present and having hope for my future.

Reminding myself of this has helped me keep this discomfort at bay. Yeah, I’m still uneasy about this all, but so is everyone, even the kids who have known their dream school since sixth grade. No amount of “day in the life at _____ university” YouTube videos or campus visits are going to change that.

Things are going to go right and wrong these next few years, but those are battles to be fought and victories to celebrate when they happen. This time next year, I’ll (hopefully, dear god please) be neck deep in my first semester of college and at the tail end of the initial weeks homesickness and rejection of change, looking back on myself writing this with newfound perspectives and experiences that were made possible by accepting my fears and apprehension and learning to live with them. If I’m hating every single second of it, I’ll just have to put my big boy pants on and figure something out. I might even have to log back into my Common App profile after all and transfer out.

But I don’t have to worry about that right now. Be aware? Yeah, definitely. But worry? No. Even if it doesn’t feel like it at all, I’ve got this. And so do you.

 

 

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