MY VIEW: It’s your future. DO. NOT. PROCRASTINATE.

Columnist Dusty Barron

Columnist Dusty Barron

It’s basically Christmas–my 18th Christmas. The final “childhood” Christmas. The holidays to follow may be spent with my family, but I will have my own living space, bills to pay and adult classes to attend. My 18th Christmas should be spent preparing for those to come. Ideally, I’m supposed to have applications out; I’m supposed to slowly start packing my things up…College is less than nine months away. Ideally, I’d be six months into getting ready by now.

  Realistically? Not so much. I am behind. Fatally behind. My ever-procrastinating mind was at peace with the thoughts that, “Oh, I finally know what I’m actually doing with my life after school. That’s the biggest step, conquered,” and “Oh, I’ve been to the school’s website. I know the school colors and the mascot. I am good to go,” and “hey, I learned a lot at the school’s college fair. I am ready.”

  These are all good things to do. You need to know what you want to do as a career in order to determine a major. In my case, my major decided my school for me. Checking the school’s website for application requirements is a good way to start. Buy some school merchandise to pump you up for the coming change. 

  I say my mind was at peace. Now, I see the weight of my decision to put this off. There are essays to be written, transcripts to be collected…so much to do. So much. I may sit back and let the weight of it all crush me.

  This is not a “woe is me” moment. This is a cautionary plea to all of you who will be in my shoes in two or three years. 

  Take dual credit classes. They will stress you out and make you feel stupid and probably end with you cursing your arrogance (I thought I could handle all of this work? Why?). Dual credit is not for the faint of heart; however, from what I’ve been told by older friends, they do make college itself an easier ride. You know what to expect when you step on campus. 

  Please figure out what you think you want to do with your life. I used my indecision as a crutch for far too long. If you know what classes you need for the degree you hope to earn, you can prepare accordingly. Once college life actually hits, you may find something totally bizarre and new that changes your mind. It’s okay to change your mind. If you’re able to see a clear picture  of yourself in 10 years, you’re able to do something to make getting there easier now.

  A speaker at a camp once told me to start looking into college in eight grade. It seemed like a crazy idea to call schools and start applying, but I wish I had taken his words more seriously. If you don’t learn anything else from my mistakes, learn this: Do. Not. Procrastinate. Take your life into your hands. If you don’t have a college fund (and even if you do), scholarships are everywhere. Free money is free money, even if you do have to write a dumb essay. Apply for scholarships! I’m sorry if I sound like I’m yelling at you…I’m mostly ranting at myself.

  My final bit of advice is think ahead. Allow the changes that are coming to terrify and sober you. Cherish your time left in high school, in the house where you’ve grown up. Few high school friends keep in real contact. Bills are coming, taxes are coming. Lots and lots of Ramen noodles are coming (cliche, but true.) Enjoy the carefree life you have now including the home cooking. How many times my older brother came home and begged my mom to cook this or that. Good times are ahead, but hard changes are coming, too. Enjoy this last Christmas as a kid. Then get to work.