Our second child is in the “college letters in the mail” phase of senior year. So far so good - there are many, many amazing options open to them.
Still, though, the senior-itis is hitting hard. Why finish the school year well when at this point it doesn’t matter?
“I’ve been in the system that I had no choice about for the past thirteen years. I’m just done with it. This is a system not of my choosing, and I will never again have to work in such a system,” says our kid emphatically, throwing down the proverbial gauntlet.
Let’s examine this argument a bit.
1) “No choice.” Wrong. You had the choice of graduating early (which you declined.). You had the choice of every single one of the classes on your schedule. Still in the system, yes, but choices galore.
2) “Never have to work in such a system again.” Sorry, my child. Depending on what you actually mean by “such a system”, college and the work world are similar systems. You need to conform to expectations laid out by someone else. Like the choices you executed senior year when choosing classes, the choices you will make within the system are still choices made within a limited range.
As we were talking to Bee about how to stay on track (and trying not to discourage them in the process), we came to a few conclusions.
Cruising is about as far from the system as it might be possible to get. Living off the grid, with no permanent address. Self-sufficient. Border-hopping. How did we get to the point of being able to buck the system?
By working the system.
We’ve been working the system as well as we can for a long time. High school, college, jobs. Buying a house. Each step of the way, we worked as hard as we could within that system and used that work as leverage to move ourselves closer to our goal.
Our advice? The best way to buck the system is to work it hard. Understand what your ultimate goal is and don’t get sidetracked by the shiny objects (even the ones that seem to be part of the system itself!) Embrace your choices.
And don’t forget to celebrate when that hard work has paid off.