Am I pretentious?

My commuter life

Too often I find myself taking school too seriously. I realize this when I talk to other people that are not in school. I also realize this when I sometimes find myself angry that they don’t care to talk about the things I am studying, like literature or European history.

I hate myself for this because I know how higher education is not an option for everyone and that getting a bachelor’s degree is not something that every person does. Many people do not want to go to college or simply cannot because of financial or family reasons. This is no reason to look down on people, because their circumstances and desires in life are different from mine. I try to remind myself of this every day.

My parents didn’t go to college, and I work in retail where many people are happy just working there and not going to school. When we talk, sometimes it is frustrating because they are not as passionate about reading or anything academic. I deal with this every week because I am not always on campus, but many students who do live on campus will soon be going back home for the summer where they might experience these same things and feelings.

I think it is important to constantly remind yourself how college is not what everyone decides to do. It is okay that others will not understand the stresses of studying for finals or writing a 25-page research paper. I try to do this every time I get frustrated with my parents, because they still gave me a pretty decent life and the opportunity to go to college.

Not everything in the world is about studying and preparing for class every week. It is important to me, but that does not mean that it has to be important to everyone else in my life. Other people have different interests and goals in their life, and that is okay. College is only going to be a small part of my life in the long run, and I imagine that throughout my career I will encounter many other people that will not have had the same educational experiences and opportunities that I have. School is important to me, but it isn’t important to a lot of other people in the world, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Every day, I think about how lucky I am to be graduating soon and for the chance to go to college. I have learned so much over my four years here at Case Western Reserve University, and even though it has not always been easy, I have enjoyed my time as an undergraduate. I have been able to travel some and learn some incredible and interesting things about the world and myself. So when I get angry with other people that don’t understand the stress of college, I like to ask myself, am I being pretentious? I do not want to look down on others just because they have not made the same decisions I have or share the same interests.

Not everyone decides to go to college and that is okay. There is no reason to look down on someone just because they don’t understand why you are so stressed about reading or even understand your desire to do so much reading and studying in the first place. There are plenty of other viable options in life besides going to college, and just because I decided to continue with school doesn’t make me any better than the people I know who didn’t. I hope that I can continue to remember this after I graduate.

And I hope everyone else remembers this too when they take a break over the summer or are done with school. Not everyone they meet will be working toward a degree.

Abby Assmus is a senior who does not want to become pretentious after graduation.