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Baldwin, Essay, Research Paper

Notes of a Confused Son

Ned Bartlett

I thought it would be quick and painless it turned out to be quite the opposite. Reasoning with parents, as any self-respecting teenager will agree, is extremely difficult if not impossible. Recently I had been thinking hard about my future and which road I was going to take to get there. I decided that I wanted to skip my senior year at Friends School to move on with my life at a college level of education. My credits at college would transfer over to Friends so that I would still have a High School diploma from Friends School. The only difference that I could see was that I was killing two birds with one stone.

As I sat down to brunch, my mom asked me if it was a good time to talk about college, and I readily assured her that it was. Having previously made up my mind, I thought all I was going to have to do was explain to my parents my reasons for going to college early. After all, my parents were the ones who had actually introduced the early admissions option to me years earlier when they saw the frustration I was experiencing as a result of limited freedom at Friends.

We began making a list of Pro s and Con s, which turned out to be harder than one may think. Trying to reason with the minds of such archaic steamrollers like my parents was like pulling teeth. The discussion s goal was to produce a logical, practical, and fairly emotionally detached list. This objective was lost in shouts of anger, humility, disbelief, misunderstanding, and frustration, which persisted to rear their ugly heads throughout the conversation.

Cindy? Could I speak with you alone for a moment? my dad asked.

Their mumbles persisted in the pantry until they both finally emerged, one at a time, slightly more composed than they had exited. I understand that it is nearly impossible to keep emotions out of the way when one s son is trying to make an important decision that affects the rest of his life. I accepted this and tried to be as rational as I could without involving my emotional reasons for wanting to go to college.

Ned? my mom said in a tone that asked if I was ready to hear her ideas.

Mmhmm I responded.

My mom and dad went on to play the role of devil in an ill-fated game of devil s advocate. What about the senior year s courses that you ve been looking forward to since ninth grade? What if something beyond your control happens which makes it impossible for you to complete next year at college? There won t be as much understanding from the professors at college as there would be from the teachers at Friends. Not to mention, you won t even have a high school diploma. Let s face it, G.E.D. s aren t worth $#!+. The intensity at college is much greater than high school and the professors at any college that would accept you this late in the selection process would not be very supportive and would only know you as a name and a grade.

None of this, however, was able to sway my seemingly faultless reasons for leaving Friends and going to college. I had already thought out my proposals to these seemingly impossible obstacles. I would still take the courses that interested me as well as the college s required courses. Taking these elective courses would be the motivation I needed to work past the anonymity of a large college with little to no professorial support. I already knew that college would be more intense than high school and I was prepared to buckle down to get the work done; so this was a non-issue in my eyes. I planned fully on transferring to a better college after my freshman year at an in state college; so not living up to my potential was not really something that needed to be argued.

My sails only lost wind when a few, unsharable due to request, anecdotes from my parents made me sit back and think about what kinds of changes were fantasies about college life and which could be realities. I thought that I would gain respect from adults if they only knew I was in college, I needed to feel this respect because I have been treated as a lesser individual at Friends because I m not an adult. My word does not appear to be taken seriously at Friends when opposed by an adult. Even if I am factually correct, there s nothing I can do about it because nobody has time to hear what a kid with died hair and independent thoughts has to say. My mind is open, but it has no voice. All in all, I need my freedom more than anything, I have to realize that I m not going to get it until I die. There s always somebody trying to squash my dreams and desires, to smother my creative urges. This doesn t mean I m going to kill myself to attain this desired freedom. I will continue to grow and gain knowledge until I am truly free from the mental restraints of ignorance. It is hard for me to be told one thing from an administrator or teacher of reputable character and then to learn the next day that s/he has no intention of following through with the promise. The inequalities and hypocrisy of high school will never go away, but they will slowly fade in my memories as I grow more and more throughout the years.

The changing point for me came when my mom and dad both made me understand that I still had teachers who supported me, knew me, and accepted me for who I am and didn t reject me for what I am not. All of a sudden now teachers are coming out of the woodwork in my support and are behind whatever decision I make. A few teachers with whom I talked were extremely upset to hear that I might be leaving and offered their assistance in any feasible way, if nothing other than to talk. Others to whom I ve spoken are standing behind me, whether I stay at Friends or not.

All of these thoughts about my future are viable and worthy of serious contemplation. My parents, my teachers, myself everything funnels down to a consensus between my mind and my heart. All that I have left from my lists and discussions, though, is a permeating headache and a head full of life-altering decisions to make.

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