Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 7:01:00 AM
Disappointment – my greatest fear in the world. It is a mental plague, a malicious demon in the obscurities of my mind. It chops me down from my lofty heights, cleaves me open with the painful axe of failed expectations, and erodes me away until nothing is left but sawdust. It shuts the lights whenever I conjure a bright idea, sneering as I crawl pathetically in the dark in desperate search of self-approval. There is no greater pain than its intangible sting, no worse feeling than the bitter realization of falling short. I cannot stand the truth, that I practiced for weeks but missed the target, that I trained for years but lost in the first round, that I pushed my physical being to its limit and forced the efforts of an eternity through the lifeblood of my soul, but still never reached my goals. I can pretend all I want, ponder all that could have and should have happened, but reality is cruel; dreams do not always come true.
Some people dream of attending college. They yearn for an education because they desire its boundless benefits: its potential to craft economic stability, its prestige as a source of family and social pride, its practicality in teaching essential technical skills, and its unquestionable ability to put limitless joy in life. These diligent men, women, and young adults are motivated to study and prioritize their schooling. They persistently chew their way through textbooks so they can one day emerge from the cocoon and enjoy the high skies of education. They forgo luxuries and work multiple jobs so they can save hard-earned money for tuition. Students like Shane Burrows and Kathryn McCormick work their butts off, yet there is no guarantee that they will succeed. But what force holds them back? What barrier prevents them from reaching that mountain top, from becoming college graduates?
As a to-be high school senior, I am already crumbling under the pressure of college. I am afraid. What if no college wishes to accept me? How will my parents and teachers judge me if I am universally rejected? More importantly, how will I judge myself? The sinister hand of disappointment pulls the strings once more as I envision all my high school years becoming nothing but wasted effort. Like Shane and Kathryn, I am a fish swimming upstream, a student struggling day in and day out to keep his head above the water. College is tough, but college is rewarding. Our minds will be battlefields as we learn to combat our shortcomings and focus on the challenges ahead. Our hearts will no longer swell with the burning angst of remorse or failure, but with the beating optimism of what we can accomplish, of what we will accomplish. And many years later, when we are old and prosperous, we will look back and remember the past, a golden age free of regret.