Pondering the path of prospective plans


Jamie Abbott

Lately, my e-mails have been filled with nothing but college recruiters.

Since starting my junior year, my nights have consisted of studying for college level tests, searching for scholarship essays as seemingly silly as “why good foot care is important” and–the most anxiety–inducing–lying in bed feeling as if I had wasted so much time and money from my part-time job throughout my high school career.

Someone once told me those in Generation Z are apprehensive of future plans, jobs and even driving, which my aunt always told me was the greatest freedom but to me it seems to be a blight of anxiety. It is no wonder my generation is so fearful of the future, as the weight to succeed hangs so heavy on each of us when none of us are sure of how we are going to pay for the path to success. Even the bare necessities seem to grow more and more expensive, yet my generation is told we are too expectant.

Some of us have great passions we wish to follow to the ends of the earth– to which I say kudos for those who do–but through most of these speeches, I had no clue what major would even fit my interests. The options are to settle into a secure field with a decent pay or become the very best at an impractical field and elbow your way through. I began to fear being planted and rooted into a field with which I would not be happy, then not being able to elbow my way through, should my desires and ambitions be impractical. With time, I discovered viable plans and paths, but there is still a voice in my head which grows uneasy and restless by the prospect of failure and unhappiness.

Not only is determining the future stressful, college is exceedingly expensive, now more than ever. According to the U.S Department of Education, the average cost of all institutions, public and private, in 1984 to 1985 was $10,210, with inflation calculated. From 2014 to 2015, the average cost for all institutions was $21,728, a price which continues to increase. Even though economic opportunities are most prominent through a college degree, the daunting cost is a wall for students looking to attain a higher education.

Now, three months after my 18th birthday have passed, the mist of reality surrounds me from all around and there is nowhere I can run. There is little I want from my adult life, such as materialistic things. I only want to be safe, secure and happy. I want to be able to continue on without stress swallowing me whole, but it seems to me that is the definition of adulthood. I don’t want to be pit against others to compete for a simple position in my field. When we are growing up, adults expect and push us to be the absolute best. Average is tolerable and below average in unacceptable.  

With time, I discovered viable plans and paths, but there is still a voice in my head which grows uneasy and restless by the prospect of failure and unhappiness.”

— Jamie Abbott, 11

“It’s time to grow up.” It’s a phrase I’ve heard several times in the past couple of years, and I am more than accepting of the actuality of such. But saying and doing are two different actions, and throwing off the security blanket of adolescence is much more difficult than some might expect it to be.

If you told me freshman year to cherish these memories and this time, I would have undoubtedly shrugged you off and commented something about nonconformity. I regret not being more involved and forming more meaningful relationships with my peers, as I’ll be departing from them soon now.

Editor’s note: Information for the graphic came from the U.S. Department of Education.