The Eighth Page

Choose Your Own Adventure: College Edition

One morning, a little girl or boy (this is you!) woke up to start another stress-free day up on Andover Hill. Something was nagging your little clever mind, however. Suddenly you remember: “I had almost forgotten,” you exclaimed. “I am already two weeks into my freshman year. Someone told me by now I should have started to think about something called “Coledge.” But what is this mysterious quest I must undertake?” And so I, Alison “Czar of Practical Knowledge” Schouten will allow you to indulge yourself in a childhood favorite in order to explain this mystifying journey. You will never, ever again find something academically related that is so very much fun, unless you are like me and take easy classes that read only “choose your own adventure” and picture books. So, without further ado, let the adventure commence. 1. Welcome to Andover! You begin your adventure by choosing your extracurricular activities. If you are a varsity athlete, go to paragraph 10. If you choose not to have any friends and to participate in no activities and get all 6’s, go to paragraph 10. If you attempt to socially alienate yourself and get good grades but instead just get addicted to Snood, I feel for you, but go to paragraph 6. If you choose to make friends and participate in activities that bring meaning to your life, proceed to paragraph 2. If you join the Recycling Club or start a new club, go to paragraph 9, you crazy individualist psycho. 2. At your very first meeting with your college counselor, he/she mentions the fact that you have taken only classes that you would have been able to bypass or pass the first time you took them, thus making it impossible for you to impress colleges and also to finish the math requirement. If you blame and subsequently sue the school for mental damage because of the shock you went through when you realized that neither Mary-Kate nor Ashley Olsen attended your high school, go to paragraph 5. If you swear to take lots of hard classes and get 6’s in them, go to paragraph 3. If you have already begun to bitterly accuse Andover of “screwing you over” in the college process, go to paragraph 8. 3. It is finals week of your Upper Fall, a cold and dismal time. If you study very hard and maintain your honor roll average, proceed to paragraph 10. If you pull an all-nighter on the eve of a day you don’t have a final just for fun with your roommate (not not based on personal experience), you are so cool that any college would be lucky to have you. Go to any paragraph. If you don’t study and blame Andover for “screwing you over” in the college process, go to paragraph 8. If you just plain don’t study because you are smarter than everyone, go to paragraph 6, you arrogant fool. 4. You have been eaten by a T-Rex and sent back in time into another “choose your own adventure” about political affiliation. Go to the Commentary section, or to paragraph 7. 5. You have committed a social or behavioral faux pas. If you do not know what that means, please go to paragraph 6. If you do, start over. 6. You have been utterly rejected from every college you applied to. If you like numbers, go to paragraph 4. If you like colors, go to paragraph 9. If you attempt to pass yourself off as a full-blooded Native American in order to be admitted to colleges, go to paragraph 5. 7. While lost in the woods, you meet some friendly forest creatures, who help you find your way. If you like animals, go to paragraph 9. If you hate animals, go to paragraph 8. 8. You have adopted the typical Andover attitude towards college. You will be accepted to your third-choice school, and go there believing you are smarter than everyone. Kudos, bitter one. If you don’t like this, go to paragraph 9. 9. You reject the idea of college, and live off the land as a vegetarian hippie whose only electrical appliance is a VCR so you can watch Easy Rider (best movie ever; good call, hippie) over and over. 10. Congratulations! You have been accepted to the college of your dreams! Go back to paragraph 1 to watch your less scholastically or athletically-inclined friends fail miserably to achieve the right to wear very small shorts with the name of an Ivy League university across the butt. Don’t worry if you ended up choosing a less than stellar adventure, because we’re all in the same boat. As much as the College Counseling Office wants us to think that we are “in the driver’s seat of the car, with the college counselor in the passenger’s seat and mom and dad in the back seat,” we know that we are in a boat, as I mentioned in the previous sentence. So choose whatever worthless extracurriculars you like, and best of luck to you.