You Make Me Say “Ado”

Recently I interviewed a high school student who is applying to my alma mater. I have been an alumni volunteer for a few years now, and they get younger every year.

More likely I’m getting older.

It’s easy to forget what it was like be a certain age. It is in reading what I wrote at the time that I am brought back. A year or so ago, I read something I wrote in high school and was surprised to find that I was more insightful than I remembered. I talked about what I expected from college and what I wanted in the future. I may have been discussing things abstractly, since I hadn’t yet experienced what I was projecting, but what I wanted was on the ball with how things turned out. It’s as if I knew and didn’t know what I was talking about at the same time.

When I was in high school, I could not have envisioned how big the world was. And at the same time how accessible it was. Having a friend who was three years older, much less fifteen, seemed like a huge gap. Getting on a plane by myself hadn’t happened yet. If one day the friends I ate lunch with were absent, eating alone or joining people I didn’t usually eat with was unfathomable. My group of friends was nice but also a product of going to a small school. Selection was limited, and once you found a group, you didn’t move around too much. Applying to colleges was a huge deal, and every class you chose or didn’t choose seemed like it could make or break your future because of how it would affect your GPA and ranking.

I enjoy speaking with prospective candidates to my college. It’s interesting to hear about what they’re looking for, how they feel about leaving their family and friends, and how they spend their time. It also tickles me to be called “Ms. ___” by some of them.

The tables outside the café where I conducted my most recent interview had cheery little centerpieces. I thought this budding cactus in an orange watering can was out of the ordinary.



4 thoughts on “You Make Me Say “Ado”

  1. I can see a huge gap between today’s teens and my own adolescence in the 1990s, even though it wasn’t so long ago. Internet really made the world smaller…

  2. You do this in France? Are they french students? It’s funny hearing Americans talk about the college process, since at home there are only seven universities, going away to uni isn’t really a thing unless you come somewhere where there is no uni or you want a particular speciality. I came from the biggest city, so most people still lived at home or in flats, I never met anyone who lived in a dorm. And to get in to a standard degree (maybe different for med school or something), you just need good enough grades – no essays or extracurricular activities or whatever.

    • Yes, I do it in France, but it’s for my American university. So I’m interviewing students who are interested in pursuing their degree in the States. The candidates are often a mix– French American or any other combination of nationalities. Many have lived or traveled in several countries. It’s certainly a different pool from the one that I used to interview in the States.

      Likewise, it’s interesting to hear about your university experience. The process has become a bit crazy in the States– I don’t think it’s good for high school students to get extremely stressed and think that their college choice will make or break everything. I remember having one classmate who was so upset about not getting into her top choice. Not everyone is like that, but it’s not unheard of.

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