College is a Privilege

Unfortunately over spring break I had to spend some time in the operating room in order to repair my knee. What I did not know was how many nurses and doctors I would be interacting with before and after my surgery. Though prolonging the wait time to be taken into the operating room by seeing these people was daunting, I was able to take away a prominent concept about social class.

I grew up in an affluent town in Massachusetts that is known for having a phenomenal school district. The way the school system thrives is through competition, and with competition comes expectation. The expectation for the town of Acton, Massachusetts is that everyone enrolled and associated with the high school is going to attend college. This is false. But, most of our town, and even surrounding towns, see it this way. When you’re a senior all anybody asks is where you plan on going to school and what your plans are for the future, not if you’re going to school. Honestly, this definitely had a role in why I freaked out when I was looking at schools. I had no idea where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do “for the rest of my life.” Those are some pretty bold words that are extremely intimidating. How are 18 year old, seniors in high school supposed to know what they want? I can barely decide what I want to eat for lunch let alone where I want to spend the next four years of my life, or what career path I want to explore.

Hearing a nurse ask me if I was in school was refreshing to hear. It was a good reminder that college is a privilege not a right. I am grateful for everything I have and Wheaton is an amazing opportunity to establish who I want to be and what I want to do, because when it comes down to it the only expectation that matters is my own. The expectations of a small, affluent town in the suburbs is irrelevant and not going to determine who anyone is.

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