Editorial: Wasted college stress

Kids are stressed out — really stressed out — about getting into college.

It’s unnecessary, and unfortunate.

“There’s so much pressure put on you to do everything to buff that résumé,” a student interviewing for a Youth Commission seat told the selectmen last week. “… The competition to get into school is really the main pressure.”

Parents aren’t the whole problem — there’s a whole culture of crazy college competitiveness — but they’re part of it. They need to lay off.

Where else in life is the gap between perception and reality so vast as it is with value placed on a degree from one as opposed to another college? So much attention — and angst — surrounds who’s gotten into Princeton, who’s accepted at North Carolina, who’s going to Georgetown or Pace, WestConn, Norwalk Community or Mississippi State?

Know what? By the time they’re 28, and have a couple of former employers on the résumé, no one will give a damn what school they went to.

It may be that graduating from a few very top schools conveys entrance into some elite circle of alumni who can provide a network of opportunity. So can a good golf game.

As for getting a good education, the key ingredient is the student’s level of interest in learning — not the school they go to.

Kids need to learn how to work hard — and how to enjoy themselves. Getting a grip on life-work balance will mean more for a young person’s future happiness than getting into their first choice school.

Kids, yes, go to college. Finish college. Find something you love to do. But don’t stress out over Campus Prestige or Podunk U — you can learn a lot on any campus if you want to.

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