Originally created 02/16/99

The future is staring students in the face



Every day, as I'm disregarding mail from colleges, I realize I can't keep shoving it into the corner of my bedroom that much longer. Sooner or later, I'm going to have to make decisions about things, and I wonder why I keep putting it off.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm afraid of change, and I'm afraid of my future. I see my friends come home from college on weekends and holidays, and I see them leave again, not to come home (if they even still call it that) for months.

I realize that in about a year and a half, I'm going to be doing that too. I see how many old friends they've forgotten and lost touch with. I wonder if four years from now, the people I call my best friends will be reduced to distant acquaintances. Then, I wonder if anything I've done up till now even matters, and if all those jokes and all those tears will have been for nothing.

The irony is that it's not the colleges I would never consider that I wish would stop sending me brochures -- it's the the ones I actually want to go to that I wish would stop.

The realization that they just might be my future is too uncomfortable to think about. The idea that those campus dining halls, those dormitories and those classrooms with "small student-teacher ratios" might just be the place I call home is just too strange. Even scarier is that "wide range of students from all over the country" who might end up being my peers.

These are the people I'm going to have to live with -- I mean, one of the new freshman class is actually going to be my ROOMMATE -- a stranger (and yes, that's the way I want it, none of that she-was-my-best-friend-until-we-roomed-together syndrome) who is going to occupy half of my bedroom!

Then there's also the fact that I'm going to be making crucial decisions about the rest (and presumably larger portion) of my life: Choosing a major, deciding on a career, dating seriously -- as in leading to engagement, and, oh my god, marriage, and yes, even being able to answer that terrifying question, "So where do you see yourself 10 years from now?"

Could things I do now really affect what my life is going to be like when I'm 27 -- an age that's an eternity away? From what I've seen, I'm afraid they can.

Sometimes, I worry that these are some of the most crucial years of my life -- and sometimes I worry that I'm too young to handle it.

Sree Roy is a junior at Lakeside High School and a member of The Augusta Chronicle's Teen Board.