After having my first child I don’t even think we were home from the hospital when questions started pouring in about when we were going to have another.
I couldn’t even wrap my brain around nursing my first one much less thinking about having another child take over my body for almost 10 months. It was as if getting married and having a baby enters you into a race of “hurry up and do all the damn things now because you aren’t getting any younger.”
I wanted to be in the moment and enjoy him and just try and get through the best I could and I knew there would be lots of moments of struggling, losing it and feeling like I couldn’t go on.
And I was right.
So now as I watch that same boy as he walks through the doors of his high school and start sophomore year, I find myself thinking back to that time in my life when I felt more pressured than ever to “hurry up already” because it’s starting to feel like were under the pressure cooker.
Where are you going to college?
What do you want to do?
What will you make in?
When will you start visiting college?
I realize having more children and thinking about college are two very different things, but I’m referring to the time in my life after I had him instead of my high school years because honestly, I don’t remember feeling the pressure that’s floating out there when I was a Freshman, Sophomore, or even a Junior in school.
Probably because it wasn’t a thing.
My senior year of high school my mother and I took a few weekend trips to visit schools I thought about it, I made a decision and applied to a few places, that was it.
We started talking about it my Junior year, it felt normal and fun and I was excited about it. But I didn’t feel pressure, nor did I have any college credits under my belt but I still managed to graduate in four years with a scholarship and decent grade.
Never once did it feel like judgment day the minute I entered high school.
Yes, you were reminded colleges were paying attention to those early years of high school. Your teachers and counselors reminded you of the importance of your grades and told you extra- curricular were a good idea. You were encouraged and supported, but today, it feels different to me and I’m not even the one in school.
The pressure to know what you wanted to do and where you wanted to go on the Freshman and Sophomore level was almost non-existent.
Worrying about getting college credits in high school wasn’t a huge thing either– we were kids, we acted like kids, we knew we had a big future ahead of us but it wasn’t constantly dangled over our heads and made us feel like if we didn’t have this, that, and other crossed off by our first day of our Junior year of high school we were unmotivated.
So, I’m letting my son enjoy his high school Sophomore year without putting extra pressure on him to plan out the rest of his life— he had a rough Freshman year and we just want him to be successful and try and have some fun. And in order to do that, we need to stay in the present and focus on the now.
I’m not saying we won’t discuss his future or plan to take trips next year or the year after to visit schools if that’s what he wants to do but we aren’t making and hard and fast decisions. And of course, we are open to dual credit classes if that is a decision he makes and it feels right to him,
But we aren’t going to try and achieve the perfect GPA, get college credits or load him up with extra activities. That wouldn’t make him happy and I want nothing more than to have a happy kid. I believe that will take him further in life that feeling so much pressure and having heavy expectations on him making him not want to further his education at all, because believe me, I know my son and that could happen in under a month.
He will enjoy his Sophomore year just as I did and take the much needed time to think about his future as time permits.
There is nothing wrong with taking it one year at a time and not rushing through life and being so concerned with the next thing, and the next stage, and then what comes after that.
As we get older we rush through life enough because being an adult takes time, planning, motivation and focus.
Our Sophomores don’t need to be held to that standard just yet, we weren’t and we certainly did just fine.