Is it possible to prematurely plan your future?

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Is it possible to prematurely plan your future?

I have discovered that a commonality that I share with a remarkable number of my peers is the consistent maintenance of an overwhelming anxiety involving the future. As a sophomore, I have witnessed peers utterly devastated when they receive a poor grade on a test, believing that the disastrous test symbolizes a sole-wrecking ball demolishing the wall that represents their prosperous, successful future and the hopes, dreams, and aspirations that lie within it.  

I have discovered that this crippling anxiety is credited to the extreme, excessive pressure put on young high-school students involving knowing the exact contents of their future. Students obtain a common misconception that it is necessary to know every minuscule detail about their future at the inexperienced age of sixteen. This school year, more than ever before, I have been inquired about my future aspirations and the goals I desire to conquer.

In theory, it seems proactive to encourage students to commence planning their futures as early as possible. An established plan allows an increased amount of time for planning; meanwhile, it allows students to focus on what is required of them in order to reach the school, level of education, or position they crave.

However, how early is too early to start planning your future?  

An article on Forbes.com argues that children already experience too much anxiety with tough academic demands and “overscheduling” after school and on weekends. The article questions whether parents are successfully letting “kids be kids.” It states that career and college-readiness programs and curriculum are being increasingly incorporated into elementary and middle schools. Finally, it provides readers with jarring images: first graders preparing college wish lists and fourth graders taking campus tours.

Students obtain a common misconception that it is necessary to know every minuscule detail about their future at the inexperienced age of sixteen.”

I am roughly ten years older than the average first grader, and I feel as if my fair understanding of colleges is extremely weak itself; therefore, I cannot imagine what the extent of first graders’ knowledge is compared to mine. Keeping that in mind, I cannot fathom why elementary schools are encouraging children to select their futures colleges at the age of six before they have received the chance to even decide whether attending college is something they desire to do. I believe that imprinting the positive image of college in young children’s minds is being utilized to recruit as many children to college as possible; however, I question if that is morally correct to do.  

Long story short, six-years-old is definitely too early.

The author of an article on turorful.co.uk states that children were regularly instructed to enjoy their youth. “These are the years to do ‘foolish’ things” and “time is on your side” are two phrases that were consistently uttered to him while he grew up. He questions whether students understand the importance of remaining focused in all areas of their lives and planning for the future—not simply achieving satisfactory results for school.

Meanwhile, he encourages society to forget the idea that planning futures is not necessary for young people and support young people to approach their dreams fearlessly and with knowledge. Finally, he encourages society to decrease its concern involving short-term enjoyment at the expense of long-term success.

I believe that the pressure pushed onto students involving post high-school life is what makes school such a stressful and negative environment. Students are consistently shown that their best simply is not enough. For example, even if our school is told that its students score impressively above the national average, its students still do not get accepted into prestigious colleges. Knowing that this discouragement and disappointment is present among copious seniors, it is hard to not become discouraged myself and feel as if my dreams are too far-fetched.

To provide a solution to this anxiety, the article on Forbes.com suggests that school districts shift the narrative away from a compliance-driven process, which is fulfilling school or state-mandated requirements and holding students to parent-driven ideals, toward personalized conversations about aspirations and opportunities.

And I couldn’t agree more.

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