When Kids Worry About Their Futures

One incoming senior offers his own words of wisdom on the existential dilemma college application season can create for young teens.


In a perfect world, every child has a path paved out for them. In this said "perfect world," one never has to worry about where life takes them; they know.

Well, in the real world, this is not the case.

Most people can recall childhood dreams of becoming the next Jerry Rice, the world's greatest writer, or a firefighter who saves lives. I say "most," because in many cases, children don't have major life goals.

As I was growing up, I was under the impression that I always needed to know what my future would hold. As a result, I probably wanted to become 50 different things.

The beauty of it was that no matter how many times I changed my ideas about the distant future, it would always be perfect. I figured that everything would work out for me, just because I wanted it to.

At the time, I thought this was standard. I believed that everyone around me, my friends, my peers, my siblings, all wanted to become something. If they didn't, they were going to become hobos. It was as simple as that.

Thank God I grew up.

College applications - it's crunch time. Make-it-or-break-it for me and all of my peers. We're blissfully and nervously taking the next big step into our futures.

Seems simple, right? Think again.

It appears that colleges want you to know exactly what you want your future to hold. They ask essay questions about career aspirations and require the filling out of a "Career Interests" section.

Here we are, at 17 years old, trying to decide exactly what we are going to do with our lives. All of the sudden, the dreams we had as children are become a shocking reality. We actually have to decide.

It is for this reason that the college application process is one of the most stressful times in a student's life.

I have been lucky enough to know exactly what I want to do. It's all drawn up and perfect, just like it was during childhood. I will go to college to study broadcast journalism, then eventually move on to become a sportscaster on national television.

But what about those other kids I referred to earlier? The ones who never had childhood dreams of becoming a doctor, the ones who never quite knew what their future held, or just lived life hoping they would eventually figure it out? This is where they collapse under pressure.

The reality is, a kid under these circumstances shouldn't have to decide. College is a major life-experience that has the potential to open up many different doors. As long as they commit to hard work and success, their future will be bright.

I am well aware that there is a high possibility that my dream won't become a reality. There are so many things that can happen. Life can take a person down roads they would have never expected, because things don't always go according to plan.

But that's the beauty of it.

When kids worry about their futures, they need to realize that something will work out for them eventually. They can live life according to these words, or they can dream big. Regardless, they must never give up.

There is a future out there for all of us. And so we live on to find out.


Editor's Note: Jacob Rudger is a 17-year-old senior at Carlmont High School in Belmont. He is the editor of the 'Carlmont Highlander' and contributes regularly to scotscoop.com.

This blog originally appeared on our sister publication, Belmont Patch.


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