Since we were young,my three best friends and I always thought that everyone just went to university after high school, and as we got older, we stuck with the idea of pursuing post-secondary education. However, we never worried about the logistics and requirements to get into university, all under the assumption we would get in to our desired schools, no matter what.
Over the last few years, family and friends have stressed the importance of getting into a good university, and doing everything possible to guarantee a spot. To them, acceptance to university was the first priority, and from grade nine it was clear what was expected of me. There was an emphasis to do well in all my academics, making sure I got the top marks, even in classes I had no real interest in. Good grades = good schools. In the end, I accepted that if this is what I needed to be an engineer, I was willing to do it.
I also remember conversations with my friends in grade nine. Each of the three wanted to do something different, all involving post-secondary. One also wanted to study engineering, another business, and the other architecture. They would see themselves in 10 years living their dream job, in a beautiful house; but in reality it might just be a dream. To quote Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” All three have continued to coast through school, without too much attention on grades or extra-curriculars. They are still keen to go to university, but over their three years they have not put out their best effort, making it harder on themselves when it’s time for applications.
To me and friends, Plato’s cave is an allegory about our teenage lives right now, and outside is the ‘adult world’ and post-secondary. A world us four have yet to explore, but one I have heard many stories about. I prepare myself for the day I am freed, where I hope my preparation helps me learn and succeed in what I do. Of course, I want this for all of my friends. I want to be able to inform them of the stories I have heard, and what it takes to not just survive, but thrive out there. Besides, if I had any knowledge of what was outside the cave, isn’t it my duty to explain it to the others in the cave? But in the end, the three are more comfortable living day by day, uninterested in planning for the future. I try to convince them time after time, but they don’t act out of laziness or a lack of care. I hope they have not taken the cave for granted; there is ample amounts of food, shelter, and care when we are teenagers. Unfortunately, we will all be leaving the cave one day, and all I can hope is that we will all find happiness wherever we end up.