University has been a dramatically different experience for me. It has marked my transition from adolescence to adulthood. This transition was like popping a bubble: the bubble that had protected me in my childhood. Although stressful, it was also inevitable: no bubble can last forever.
Never in my past had I truly been in charge of my own life. I had, for better or for worse, been carried around by a bubble representing my family and household. This bubble has dictated nearly all my life habits, from life-changing ones to trivial ones. For instance, where I lived was a consequence of where my parents work, and what I ate was a reflection of my parents’ tastes. My life had been entirely defined by this bubble.
There had been many benefits to having such a bubble. For example, it had protected me from many naive decisions in my youth. My parents had been relatively strict (by modern standards, at least), and their guidance had benefited me in many ways. I had managed to live a life without physical injury, maintain a reasonable sleep schedule, and avoid addiction to games or other time-wasters. The bubble had served me well by protecting me throughout my youth.
My parents had also stimulated my interests. For instance, because both worked in fields related to information technology, we had always had many computers in the house. I had owned a computer since my tenth birthday. With my parents’ support, I had developed skill in programming computers, which is a skill that will benefit me greatly in later life.
But as I aged, the bubble became more of a nuisance than a help. I am now old enough to calculate risk, maintain my own schedule, and control my own urges. The number of benefits the bubble provided declined with age. Instead, the bubble began to feel like a constraint, blocking me from reaching into the greater world.
My parents, like any other human beings, have had rich experiences and therefore have developed strong opinions. Their advice was often useful, but it introduced a large bias. I was subconsciously being indoctrinated with my parents’ beliefs. Despite my best efforts, instead of forming my own opinions based on others’ advice and my own experiences, my own beliefs had increasingly reflected my parents’. This was a great failure of the bubble.
I had grown inside a bubble which had protected and nurtured me. The bubble had provided just the right amount of freedom in my childhood. But the bubble was too small for me to reach my full potential. Staying in the bubble was increasingly unproductive. It was time for me to pop this bubble, and finally transition into adulthood.
University provided the greatest opportunity to do so. For the first time, I am living away from home. I control my own schedule and habits. I am in charge of my own life. It’s been a difficult adjustment, but it was also an inevitable one.
This post was a small post-mortem revision of the essay I submitted for my Trinity College application last year. The header image is a public-domain photo by ariesa66—Thank you!