All my life I’ve been told to study hard. There was always a goal. Get all A’s. Get into challenge classes. Get into honors classes. Get a 4.0. Get into the best colleges. At this point in my life, the looming idea of college is at the forefront of my goals. I’m only a sophomore, but it feels like that’s all I hear. College, college, college. These targets have always been a constant in my life. I never questioned them until I realized that I was doing them with no purpose. Do I really care about doing every AP class possible? Do I really want to go to a top Ivy League?

It’s not that I’m giving up on my education. I see an incredible importance in learning. But I feel like I’ve fallen into an endless cycle of eternally chasing goals that always seem to be miles away- goals that aren’t even my own. The truth is, a top-notch school isn’t even that important to me. Other aspects of a college are more significant to me, like class size, campus location, etc. Working like a dog just to receive a letter that states that my accomplishments over four years have been deemed acceptable to admit me into some snooty college seems utterly worthless.

I’ve always been told that there is life beyond high school and that I should work hard now so I can reap the benefits when I have the honor of attending a renowned school. But there’s life beyond college, too. In the long run, I’m not going to be riddled with regret because I went to a top 100 school over a top 50 school. Shouldn’t I be more worried about taking classes that interest me, or that will prepare me for a possible career rather than aimlessly signing up for whichever classes have those two coveted letter preceding them?

It’s not that I want to drop out of school. I’m just exhausted. I wish there was more to school than constantly, blindly reaching for unreachable goals.