Why do I want to go to college? Is it because I want to study English and/or mathematics? No. I mean, of course I'd like to learn about the subtleties of language and the useful applications of math, but it is not the main reason I want to attend college. Is it because I can't wait to get out of high school? No. Though I often complain about it, I will miss high school and I actually kind of like it. Is it because I'm dying to eat college food? No! (However, I will say, "Freshman 15, here I come!") No, the real reason I'm dying to go to college is that I cannot wait to get away from my parents.
Don't get me wrong -- I love my mom and dad with every fiber of my being. But man (warning: seriously outdated colloquialism coming your way), can they cramp my style.
"Hey, Dad, I want to be a writer!" I once told my father.
He looked at me like I'd given him a report card with a line of F's on it. "You're not going to be able to find a job if you keep thinking that way," he replied, before continuing to watch his Hong Kong soap opera.
"Hey, Mom, can I go to homecoming?" I asked my mother.
"No," she said, without skipping a beat or looking up from her sewing project.
"Hey, Dad, what would you do if I had a boyfriend?" I inquired one night over dinner.
He dropped his chopsticks, horrified. "No dating until you're 18!" was his firm reply.
"Hey, Mom, can I go to the movies with my friends?"
"No," she answered automatically, without looking up from the dress she was mending.
Is it any wonder that most of the colleges I'm applying to are at least two hours away from home?
Yes, I want to leave home, but I will miss my parents if I go to one of these schools. Sure, they're not as supportive of my choices as I would like them to be and they're ridiculously strict, but when I need them, they are there for me -- guaranteed. The last time I got sick, my mom rushed to Rite Aid to get some Robitussin and made me an herbal soup. Sure, it was an unappealing shade of brown, but within minutes, my forehead no longer felt like it was on fire, and I could go a good 10 minutes without coughing like I was on the verge of death. And when I have trouble with school, my dad always lends a hand and offers truly helpful advice. Nevertheless, I really think I'll be OK without them. I'm almost an adult. Even if I wasn't ready to be on my own, I'm going to have to leave my mom and dad eventually (a fact they sometimes refuse to accept). Besides, I've held a job and dealt with seven AP classes on my own. If I can handle calculus and 40-hour workweeks, then, well... I think I can handle almost anything.
On October 31, I received my first (!) acceptance letter, from Washington and Jefferson College, and I whooped with joy. W&J may not be Columbia or Yale (my two dream schools), but it has a great literary journal called "The Wooden Tooth Review" (Isn't that such a wonderfully quirky name?) and has been breeding Congress members since 1781. The school even has a class on vampires! Plus, it's 150 miles away from my parents.
"Maybe I'll actually be able to hang out with people my own age in the fall!" I said, holding the letter to my chest like a precious jewel and fantasizing about parties, a word my parents refuse to even say in my presence.
Hey, I love my mom and dad, but I'm only human -- and a teenager.