I was checking out at the grocery store last night when I heard the customer in front of me chatting with the sales associate. Clearly, the two were familiar with each other, as the older woman asked how the young lady’s brother was. “Where is he at college? How does he like it? Did he already go back? What will he do after graduation?”
After recapping her sibling’s life, and then hashing out information on all the people that they knew in common, the girl confessed how she was only a junior and couldn’t wait for high school to end so she could go to college, too.
As I unloaded my peaches, strawberries, and kale onto the belt, I was eager to be a rude eavesdropper adding my two cents. I wanted to point out that she was so young and has so many things to enjoy in high school before she rushes her way out the door to college, before, in the blink of an eye, she finds herself in her late 20s defining a school night out as hitting up Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Goods, and Stop & Shop all in one night.
So here is my advice to you high school scholars out there:
I know that you all have different responsibilities and lifestyles, but do your best to take advantage of everything around you right now. I am glad that you are looking forward to your future and can’t wait for the freedom and excitement of college. I still consider college the best years of my life. However, I appreciated it so much because I took advantage of all the things it offered me, like student organizations, jobs, friends, independence, intellectual stimulation, social events, and student exchange options.
I encourage you, as you begin the college search, to look for schools that will offer you endless opportunities. But I also encourage you to take advantage of the opportunities around you now: go to your school dances, volunteer at a shelter, run for class secretary, participate in sports and plays and school clubs. Here at UMass Boston, we are looking for students who will take advantage of our amazing community and offerings. And just like any other college, we like to see applicants that do more than just go to class and go home and study.
So as the fall 2012 semester here kicks-off and UMass Boston students eat free hot dogs and hamburgers as they cheer on the Beacon’s soccer teams, or participate in a community service project in our Campus Center, I recommend that you start practicing your involvement and be a part of your current community now.