Editor’s Note- March 2014

Note from the Editor-

By the end of this month most colleges will have released their admissions decisions. For seniors, a single email can send you skyrocketing to lofty heights of jubilation and relief- or it can blast you into the acheronian pits of despair. It’s strange to think that so much of our futures seem to depend upon a few terse messages sent out over the span of a couple weeks. For as long as we’ve been in school, we’ve been ingrained with this concept of a rigid linear educational system. We go from elementary school to middle school to high school to college. Then, we either proceed to graduate school or emerge at last into the “real world.” Our financial success, and thus the quality of our lives, seems to depend very much on the caliber of education we are able to receive. And high caliber is often translated to mean prestigious schools with expensive tuitions. Sometimes it’s almost silly how powerless students seem to be, like buoys floating in a river where the currents are predetermined and unidirectional. How could we have power, when the first twenty or so years of our lives are predetermined? Maybe not the specifics (e.g. what to study, what career to pursue, etc.), and of course there is always the alternative- drop out of school and partake in an entrepreneurial gambit. But that path isn’t so established. Why stray into the dark unknown, with all its unseen demons, when the road to financial security is so clear, and well-worn?

Because the road may be well-worn, but it doesn’t always get you where you want to go. A college degree doesn’t necessarily guarantee financial success. And when admissions decisions come around, the game is only beginning. It doesn’t just matter where you get accepted- it matters where you get money. College education is a huge financial investment, especially those schools that tout higher prestige. At some level, this prestige is merited; private universities tend to have smaller class sizes, enabling students to interact with their professors to a more significant extent, and are also generally able to offer more resources and opportunities. But what if it’s not enough? What if after four years (or more) of rigorous study, you still can’t find a job? Or what if you mess up? What if you waste a year or two on a major you find out you don’t enjoy, or aren’t good at? Then all the resources in the world won’t bring back the tens of thousands of dollars you spent on an (economically speaking) gargantuan waste of time.

It’s a scary position to be in. We’re teetering on the precipice, and we can’t see where the drop ends below. But when you think about it, maybe we aren’t as powerless as it first seems. We may have little control over what form our education takes, but we can choose what we learn. And knowledge (pardon the platitude) is power. Things may not always work out the way we hope. We may not get into the colleges we want. We may not be able to pay for the colleges we want. But no matter what we’re doing, as long as we’re living, we’re learning. Things might be uncertain right now, but what in life isn’t? In the end, we can only do what we are capable of, with the opportunities we are able to find. And though life isn’t always fair, our indissoluble power can be faith in ourselves, faith in our ability to learn and evolve. Let that take us where we need to go.

Thanks for reading,
Christopher Yin

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