Signing Your Life Away

Deciding your future when you’re still 18

By Lauren Penington

The rational part of our brains are not fully developed and won’t be until around the age of 25. Recent research has, in addition, proved that adult and teenage brains function in different ways.

On October 2nd, I will be attending a college fair. I will walk into another school, in another town, and will try to determine what schools have the most to offer me, which schools will help me grow and succeed in this ever growing and changing world. I am sixteen years old. I am sixteen years old, and I am making decisions that are going to change and effect the course of my entire life.

Most teenagers have no idea what they want to do with their lives. About 80 percent of students in the United States end up changing their major at least once, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In fact, college students change their major at least three times over the course of their college career on average. That is time, and money, wasted due to the indecision that comes with our premature brains.

Why are we obligated to sign our lives away when we are just entering into the world from our, somewhat sheltered, early lives — wherein the true weight of responsibility seems like a fiction that is far from reality and far from the present. Even postponing college for a year, taking gap year of sorts, is beneficial in that it opens your mind to the world and allows you to gain those experiences of the real world. Experiences and knowledge that are beneficial in and out of college, but are a major assist in the reentering of education. If you want to have an effect on the world, you need to see and understand it first. How can you design new systems for foreign countries in need, if not experiencing the need yourself? If not seeing it firsthand? Living life through this filtered view is detrimental to our own understanding of international workings, and also to the world at large.

At the age of 18, you are barely an adult. You do not have the wisdom or experience to make a change. Diving headfirst into the sea of information college provides is a foolhardy decision that can prove fatal to your ambitions — sending you into a shock that may deliver you home. Expose yourself to world. Grow and live before committing to a future. Expectations to choose a college so young, and even as a sophomore or a junior, is a ludicrous system that benefits the few and serves as a class gateway.

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