Written by Tage Eriksen
IB Diploma, high SAT scores, GPAs over 4.0, Extended Essay, extra curriculars, the list goes on and on. These things are all stressed so much in high school because the standards to get into the "top colleges" continue to grow. And of course teachers and staff members want you to get into the best college possible and succeed there. But I believe there is a major flaw in the mindset of today. This system has been set up so Linguistic Intelligence and Logical-Mathematical Intelligence are deemed most valuable. But what about the student who may not be the strongest in these two types of intelligence, but is gifted in art, music, or dance? It doesn't seem fair.
And I know that the college essay and letters of recommendation are supposed to be the chance for aspects other that grades to be explored. But I don't think it's enough.
I just wish students would realize that college isn't the only answer. I'm not saying to drop what you’re doing in high school, because everything you learn in high school will apply to you in "real life" even if you aren’t aware of it. Being one of the very few students from my class who decided not to attend college, I would like it to be known that I do not regret my decision one bit.
I now live in New York City and dance with the Manhattan Youth Ballet Company. I dance seven days a week and love every minute of it. I hate seeing people put what they are really passionate about on the back-burner because society expects them to attend college first. And I'm sorry, but college is not necessary for all professions. However this does not mean high school should be taken any less seriously. Using myself as an example, being a dancer there is always the possibility of a career-ending injury, so if necessary I have to be ready to go to college. However, college can wait, and until then, I will be doing what I love.
The moral of the story is to do what you are passionate about, not what you are pressured into doing. Embrace those other levels of intelligence!
Ms. Berman's response: I have to admit that at times it was difficult to encourage Tage to follow her dream. As a teacher of Science and an observer of her potential, I wanted her to go to college and major in Biology or Chemistry. As her mentor, I was forced to make Tage the priority and separate out what was in her best interest versus mine. I do believe, however, that there will be a time when she returns to the world of academia and thoroughly enjoys the experience... it just will be her own adventure, not the way in which society defines the typical college experience.