College time brings excitement, stress

Connor KocklerColumn, Opinion, Print Editions, Print Sartell - St. Stephen, Print Sauk Rapids - Rice, Print St. Joseph0 Comments

The season has come again for talk of college and applications – millions of students writing applications and hopefully waiting for replies back from their favorite schools. It’s truly an exciting time, with a lot of work in picking schools, writing essays and filling in forms.

The difference, though, is this year I am one of those students. It’s an interesting experience after so many years seeing older seniors and friends going through the process to now be a part of it myself. It’s been very exciting, seeing people go off to college and becoming successful in the next phase of life, but it’s also very stressful. Now I’m the one deciding what could come during the next few years.

Things weren’t always this way. Universities and colleges have existed for hundreds and even thousands of years, but they’ve never been as accessible as they are now. Often serving either in the training of priests or the education of only the highest classes of society, post-secondary education is now an option for many more prospective students.

So when did things change? The big start for mass university education in the United States started after World War II. Millions of veterans were coming back from the fight and were looking for good jobs and careers now that they were out of the military. Entering the G.I. Bill into the equation, its benefits allowed many people to attend university and trade school, something they might not have been able to afford before. Now a new world of opportunity was opened, and the middle class grew and thrived.

The big issue today, though, is that getting a degree is almost a necessity. Whether it’s trade school or up to getting a doctorate, most high-earning jobs now need a second diploma after your high school one. With so many schools out there, it’s not just an issue of going to the one place to get the one degree you’re looking for. There are a lot of options to navigate, with a lot potentially on the line.  

It’s an exciting thing to think about, though. For years I’ve worked hard in school and thought about what I could see myself doing in the future. I might also have a new place to call home for a little while. I’ve spent the entirety of my 18 years living in Sauk Rapids, and now comes the part where I could be spending the next four years in someplace entirely different. It will certainly be a change, but it’s one I’m really looking forward to.

So if you’re a student looking at this situation, or a family member of one, make sure you’re prepared. College can seem daunting, but if you have the right information with you, applying and visiting schools can be enjoyable and informational. Know the questions you want to ask before you talk to representatives and keep updating your plans and ideas.

Going to college and university is a big step in life, and after much schoolwork and thought, I’m at the point where my world will be changing. I wish good luck to all of the high-school students of the Class of 2018. From what I’ve seen, there are many great people who are definitely going places, and I hope the best for everyone in the future. Good things are certainly ahead.

Connor Kockler is a Sauk Rapids-Rice High School student. He enjoys writing, politics and news, among other interests.

Author: Connor Kockler

Kockler enjoys extensive reading, especially biographies and historical novels, and he has always had an almost inborn knack for writing well. He also enjoys following the political scene, nationally and internationally. In school, his favorite subjects are social studies and language. Two of his other hobbies are golfing and bicycling.

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