College is an Etch A Sketch Moment

Updated: Feb 5


I often remind prospective college students that it's okay to be a bit anxious about going to college. It's a stressful time because it involves a major financial investment that provides no guarantees for success. Moreover, the transition from high school to college represents a major life change. It's alright to feel nervous.


On a positive note, however, it's also important to realize that going to college is one of those few moments in a person's life where s/he gets to shake the Etch A Sketch. For those who don't know, the Etch A Sketch was a popular drawing toy of the 1960s. It received a resurgence of popularity in the late 1990s due to brief appearances in the popular animated films Toy Story and Toy Story 2. It's a simple toy. Using two round knobs at the bottom of the screen, an individual artist can draw what appears to be a dark line across a gray display.


It's a great life metaphor. With an Etch A Sketch an individual gets to plot out their picture. The process of creating their image takes time and effort. Moreover, it's often the case that the individual artist is going to make mistakes and not like everything that appears. In the same way, many people draw a picture of themselves during high school. Whether they like it or not, a particular sketch is created of them during their youth. But as one enters college, the individual enters a new stage of life. S/He gets to flip the Etch A Sketch and shake it up. The blank slate that appears is ready for a new image, a new life-drawing.


What this means is that when you go to college you are allowed to reinvent yourself. For example, if you were an underachieving student in high school, you can now become a high achiever in college. If you were quiet and shy in high school, you can now become more socially involved. If you were out of shape in high school, you can now exercise regularly and be more active. There are not that many times in your life where you get an Etch A Sketch moment. So take advantage of this time. Flip your image, shake vigorously, and draw yourself in a new and better way.

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