My lucky stars: learning gratitude from my teenage sister

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My lucky stars: learning gratitude from my teenage sister

courtesy Observer archives

courtesy Observer archives

courtesy Observer archives

Despite students’ kvetching about CWRU, we’re pretty lucky to be attending college at CWRU.

Gillian Seaman, The Rational Component

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My little sister will be invading my world today for a weekend visit to experience “what college is really like.” I feel this violates some sort of international treaty regarding preserving the sanity of older siblings. I am preparing for her visit by offering sacrifices of burnt Justin Beiber CDs and Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirts to the heathen gods that control the attitudes of teenagers.

My sister is 17 and at that stage where everything is “soooooo annoying” and “soooooo boring.” And of course, one cannot be 17 without possessing the attitude of “if I am not entertained 24/7, I will sullenly sit here and text and ignore all attempts at conversation.”

I do love my sister. She knows she can call me if anything bad ever truly happens and I will arrive with a shovel, garbage bags, and bleach. She is also wickedly-99th-percentile smart and I am incredibly proud of everything she has accomplished. So I eventually may forgive her for being 17.

Being 17 and a senior in high school does not mean spends all her time being angst-y. It also necessitates applying to various colleges. To my surprise, she has been remarkably picky when deciding to which colleges she wants to apply. Whereas my friends and I were content with any school that was not in Michigan, she seems to have real tangible standards. For my sister, she wants a campus that’s not too urban nor too rural, with pretty buildings, classes that aren’t too big nor too small, shopping, and a social scene.

She can find such a school only in Narnia. She may never find her perfect college, but my sister is fortunate because she will be going to college. Although she may not know where she is accepted yet, she can be somewhat assured she will be accepted somewhere.

But more than 60 percent of the population will have no such chance. According to the latest National Center for Education statistics, less than 40 percent of 18 – 24 year olds are enrolled in post-secondary education. A myriad of reasons can cause someone be unable to continue their education beyond high school, ranging from indifference to an inability to afford tuition.

I hope that my sister will recognize that she is fortunate that she will be continuing her education. Presumably, this recognition will come after she transforms back into a normal human being when she turns 18. But my hope extends beyond my sister and applies to the entire campus. I hope people can truly appreciate the opportunity the have been given to continue their education and come here.

I know it is difficult to appreciate CWRU given the various ailments that afflict the university. The main color palette here is composed of various grays . The Peter B. Lewis Building looks like a Transformer committed suicide rather graphically. We have monsoon season rather than spring. World of Warcraft is more likely to inspire a parade then the actual Homecoming game. There are probably thousands of complaints I could list.

CWRU does have some problems but that does not negate the fact that we are very fortunate to be able to attend this university. So next time, when you feel like kvetching loudly over another problem and saying you would rather be somewhere else, just pause. Because there are thousands of people out there who would be willing to take your place in a heartbeat.