Throughout history, the normal transition to adulthood went something like this:
Boys become men by becoming soldiers or starting full-time farming or manual labor or, if lucky, taking a bigger role in a family of merchants.
Girls become women by marrying some older guy that they barely knew.
What if you took a time machine and told those in the 1800s – particularly those not in England or the US – that one of the ways to transition to adulthood was moving to a place designed for their experiential enrichment and academic enlightenment? It would also provide a social extravaganza for young adults that would be structurally better than at any other time in life.
College is pretty great. Generally, almost everyone who had a four-year college experience would agree that college is better than high school and almost every full-time worker would trade college life for their current jobs.
Why then are so many students unmotivated in high school? The greatness of college life is rarely conveyed – or at least effectively conveyed – to high school students. Indeed, “college” becomes a term of stress because it is associated with getting nagged.
When I work with students, I get them excited about building their lives. They understand that they are about to undergo massive change when they transition to adulthood. They are often confused and anxious about what awaits. By explaining in vivid detail that “greatness awaits” – great classes, great location, great people – unmotivated teens (some!) transform. This part of my work is usually the most fun.
If you have a teen who is beginning the college process and you might be interested in getting help in this regard, let me know!