18 Questions From An 18-Year-Old

  1. Will I cry at graduation? Will I have some kind of weird existential epiphany while sitting on the stage, feeling uncomfortable and anxious about whether or not I will correctly shake my principal’s hand?
  2. Will I ever find a job for the summer? Am I actually going to finish Ulysses this summer? Should I try to read every Shakespeare play before I go to college, just so I can feel more cultured or “prepared” than my peers?
  3. Will I have a cool roommate in college? Considering that I’ll be in Honors housing, and the Honors program at my college consists almost entirely of Pre-Med and other science-y students, will I have a roommate who is majoring in Biochemistry who thinks I’m a loser for majoring in English?
  4. Am I a loser for majoring in English? Am I going to find out that Proust isn’t actually all that fun, or that Shakespeare gets old after a while? Am I going to realize that rather than actually possessing a “passion for literature,” I’ve just been fooling myself all this time?
  5. Am I even going to understand Derrida? Chomsky? Foucault? What if I’m just not smart enough to be an “intellectual?”
  6. Will I survive the transition from a tiny town in which people actually own chickens and cows to a (not terribly large, but ridiculously large by comparison) college city? Am I going to get lost like three blocks from wherever my dorm is, because I genuinely cannot think spatially, and have never lived in a place where you don’t need a car to get around?
  7. Who will I be in a year? Will I be one of the 50%-or-whatever of students who, as the academic advising people inform me, will change their major? What the hell else could I study, if not English?
  8. If I genuinely, authentically wanted to be a doctor four years ago, what am I going to want to be in another four years?
  9. Am I actually going to live in a super hip city someday, or is that like a naïve fantasy that isn’t going to come true? Is my desire to be an intellectual, to be a scholarly individual (whatever that even means), any less clichéd than every ten-year-old girl’s desire to be a veterinarian?
  10. Even if I do turn out to be a good essayist, a “scholar,” is it really going to matter to anyone? Who is going to care or be impressed?
  11. Shouldn’t I be working on my final English paper on Nabokov instead of writing this?
  12. Is it problematic that I haven’t ever really done anything rebellious or teenager-ish? Is it going be like people say, where the kids who never did anything bad are the ones that go crazy and lose it in college?
  13. Will I stay in touch with my friends once we all spread out and do our own thing? Is it true that people pretty much drift apart from their high school friends rather quickly? Sure, there are some friends I kind of wanna punch in the face, but I also kind of want to do lunch with them when we both come home for a visit – will this happen, or am I saying goodbye to most of them forever in a few months?
  14. How will I meet the next person I date? What will he be like?
  15. Will my moral beliefs change radically in the coming years? Will I, for instance, remain a vegetarian, and if not, what will cause me to change that, or anything else that I consider to be a part of who I am and what I care about?
  16. Am I going to gain “the freshman fifteen” once I start college? I don’t want to gain a lot of weight but I’m kind of in love with shitty food and drink ridiculous amounts of Dr. Pepper when I’m anxious; am I going to become obese?
  17. Speaking of anxiety, am I going to experience a significant rise in my levels of stress/anxiety due to the transition to college? If so, how on earth am I going to handle that?
  18. What am I going to be when I grow up? Am I going to teach high school (if I do, is that like the expected thing for an English major and does that make me uncool?), or will I decide to do something else? What will that something else be? Will I love what I do? I hope so. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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