Getting In And Tending Loose Ends

Some years ago, there was a network news story about Japanese high school students preparing for their graduation exams. Their performance on these exams determined what level of university they would get into. Pressure to perform is intense because graduates of the most prestigious university are virtually guaranteed a prosperous life’s work and other perks. Sound familiar? There’s one crucial difference, though.

The news report showed one particular densely populated apartment complex in Tokyo where many high schoolers lived. It looked like any other big-city, high-rise except for curious and conspicuous heavy metal canopies shrouding the sidewalks in front of the buildings. A convenience for rainy or hot sunny days? No, these steel coverings protected passersby from the falling bodies of distraught high schoolers who had not fared well on their exams. The suicide rate was so high that city officials felt duty bound to protect pedestrians with this shielding. Incredible.

You may know someone who was deeply crushed by his or her failure to get into an ultimate first-choice college. Hopefully, s/he didn’t contemplate a rash act. The point here is simple and worth remembering: The most challenging part of your college process may well be getting into your chosen “dream” college. Graduating may be much easier.

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