The People You'll Meet

Teachers often warn you college will be stressful... but they don't say anything about what the experience will be like or about the people you'll meet.

I am a high school senior. And I know that everything that is now, and that has been for so long, will soon be distant memories. I will no longer follow the routine I’ve held for the past few years. It’s even weird to think about how your relationship with your parents will not be the same in a few years—when they ask you what’s happening in school and for once you have something to tell them, because you don’t see them every day.

I wish my education up to now had prepared me for college, and I mean truly prepared me. My teachers often warned us that college will be stressful and that they’re trying to get us ready for it, but their help was basically limited to academics. They didn’t say anything about what the experience will be like or about the people we’ll meet.

This past year, I’ve met more new people than I ever expected to or imagined I would. I’m assuming college will be like that, especially if you decide to go to school in a big city or with a large campus. They will not all look like you, speak like you, or understand you. And it’s intimidating. But that’s the real world.

Whether you like it or not, in a few months’ time, most of us graduating seniors will be considered adults. We’ll have the whole world at our fingertips, but we will also be expected to understand the social constructs of society and abide by them.

We won’t be kids anymore, and our ignorance will no longer be excused. We’ll be expected to understand our world, the people around us, and our place in it. This year, I met a boy who seems light years older than I am. He seems to understand his politics, has traveled extensively, and has a clear-cut plan for his future.

How do I speak to people like this? How will they understand me? Or him? Or her? Or you? Will they know that we are not so different? Will they see that maybe we are?

It’s in rooms full of people that I’ve found myself feeling extremely self-aware. I think about the position of my hands, the way I’m walking, how much I pause while trying to elucidate my intentions or words. I wonder if my speech patterns are frowned upon by those around me. I grew up in a city. Perhaps it may be the other way around for you. What will people think? They may not understand my background or me.

I don’t think we can be prepared for the experiences that are to come, but rather be aware that they’ll occur. This way, we won’t be so shaken by it. Good luck to you, my friend. And enjoy that future. Things will be different, but they might end up greater than you ever imaged.

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About Mariela Pichardo

Mariela Pichardo is a 17-year-old high school senior from Yonkers, New York, but is currently based in Middletown, New York. She has an affinity for old films, female impersonation, and classic literature. She intends to study English and Spanish in the fall of 2016 in the Big Apple.


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