Lack of college in YA Lit

Sometimes I love reading YA Lit as a teenager because they get it right. And sometimes they don't...

One thing I have never gotten a proper feeling for in a YA book is the mixed emotions about college. I mean, there have been undertones of college in one of my favorites - Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen - but never as the main theme.

Here's what I know about going to college, as a senior who graduated this Spring. Some of these are generalizations but many are experienced by myself, my friends and family.

1) You will cry at sappy family commercials. The one about a mom sending her daughter Jiffy peanut butter gets me every time.

2) You are so excited to be moving on and yet you want to stay at your house forever.

3) You are terrified that the class work will be too hard and that maybe, you chose the wrong major.

4) Conversely, you're afraid you'll never find the right major.

5) You are sad to be leaving your friends from high school, ready for new ones.

6) You hope your roommmate isn't from hell - especially those that have always had a bedroom to themselves.

7) You don't want to grow up, can't wait to.

Here's a little glismp at what's going on in my life right now as an example:

I found out my housing and roommate assignment yesterday. My roommate, from Minnesota, sounds amazing. However, I'm also terrified that our Facebook chats will be better than our interactions in person. She has a boyfriend coming with her to college. I'm terrified that I'm going to be a third wheel. Some of my fears are irrational, some aren't.

I am so ready to major in creative writing and history but I'm afraid I might be taking on too much. What if my passion, writing, isn't good enough for college? What if I'm not challenged? This is a huge one for me and history. I have never been challenged academically history wise during high school. History Day, yes, challenged me, but that was extracurricular.

I love my family more than anything in the world. But I've never spent more than a week apart from one of them. I'm afraid I'll be so homesick I won't want to continue with college...

I could go on forever.

The point is that I want YA authors to ask the teenagers around them - especially the graduated seniors. Ask them about college - what they're feeling. Part of the appeal, for me, in YA lit is that it's an escape, but also a learning experience.

I want to see a character struggle through this transition and come out on the right side of it - or even the wrong side. I want to see the anticipation and fear for college.

posted under , , , , |


Post a Comment

Newer Post Older Post Home