Wednesday, April 23, 2008

College = Destiny?

My colleague's son is a high school senior. I've been carefully following the drama of his applications, acceptance/waitlist/rejection letters, and decision about which school to attend.

It's a thrilling thing to watch, especially when you have no stake in the matter. He's a good student with strong extracurriculars, and has several fine institutions from which to choose.

It's a big decision. Probably the biggest decision he has made in his life.

But I think, ultimately, it doesn't matter at all. He will make great friends and become the man he will be, no matter what his diploma says at the top.

Bump disagrees. He thinks just about everything in his life right now can be traced back to college, and he would be a different man had he chosen a different school.

What do you think?

Sure, most of my choices have a basis, to some degree, on decisions I made in college or people I met there. But I like to think my personality would be the same no matter where I spent those four years.

For me, college was about the friends I made there. The classes and campus only served as a conduit to those people. I like to think I would have been drawn to similar people in a different environment.

Although a different alma mater would make the recent gift of these two hoodies odd instead of awesome:

I assume that young people find their place and make amazing friends no matter which school they choose. Is that true, or is your choice of school the most defining thing you'll ever do?

How different would your life be, had you gone to a different college?


Aunt Bob said...

If I had gone to a different college, I feel sure that my friends would be *much* awesomer. I also suspect I would have won the lottery by now and that I would actually be able to read my diploma.

nonlineargirl said...

I am sure I would have been fine some place else, but I really believe that I was shaped to a great degree by my school. I went to a large high school and reed(small, liberal arts) was much more welcoming - a place where I thrived academically and socially. Maybe because reed is filled with the people who were odd in high school, I felt very comfortable there. Plus, I met my husband there. That changed everything.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

Everything would be different. In fact, I am sitting on the couch of my two best friends from college. I wouldn't know Gabe, I wouldn't have my kids... I might be able to do math or punctuate correctly but that crap is overrated.

Thank the Gods I have much awesomer friends than Aunt Bob.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

In conlusiuon:

Bump is right. My life might be similiar, but it would be completely different. I probably wouldn't know you guys.

Although had Bump gone to a different college your child wouldn't call me a monster.

Daddy L said...

I discovered Dungeons & Dragons in University.

Had I gone someplace else I likely would have been cooler, but had at the same time I wouldn't have made such great, lifelong friends.

Most of them are imaginary.

Em said...

Goddamn if I can't read my diploma either.

But having said that, I agree with you. You are who you are. College may intensify this in a pleasurable way if you are going to the GYPSY or make you suffer for having to deal with THOR (handheld, battery operated).

The inside jokes may be different, and the specifics are never going to be the same, but life is full of what ifs... What if I had moved to DC after graduation instead of Boston???