Preparing for College

Landing on Planet College

I've always had a favorite saying that has helped me deal with life: There's a big difference between anticipation and the moment of truth.The “moment of truth" is also known as reality. I don't know where I first heard this wisdom. Maybe I came up with it myself. The point is — it's true — never more so than in the journey from high school to college. What your imagination may create in the way of anticipation will likely be miles (maybe even light years) away from the realities you experience on campus. Why is that?

First of all, we have to consider the power of anticipation. What college-bound high school senior hasn't daydreamed about walking on an ivy-covered campus during a crisp, sunny fall day, headed to the football stadium, a concert, or a Nobel Prize-winning professor's class? That's not to mention imagining the parties, new friends, road trips, and the other social perks of higher education, especially the attractions of the opposites sex. Among those daydreams may also be an element of escapism. “I've gotta get outta this place," you may be thinking about your hometown. “I can't wait to be away from my parents who seem to be monitoring every move I make," might be another anticipatory desire within your heart. “I need to get some new friends," is also a common need, especially among those who have recently suffered some kind of embarrassment or wound at the hands of peers.

Thinking back to my own transition period from high school to college, I don't recall having any escapist hopes, but I was strongly looking forward to the independence college offers. Although I was fairly self-sufficient during my teenage years at home, my parents were always there to take up any slack I generated in my life. We were a classical '50s-'60s nuclear family. Yeah, you might say that we were an amalgam of Leave It to Beaver, Ozzie and Harriet, and Father Knows Best. Of course, I realize that probably all of you younger readers out there have no idea what I'm talking about when I refer to Father Knows Best et al. For the sake of simplicity, though, let's just say that those days are long gone in our 21st Century American society.

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