Friday, March 13, 2015

When leads are buried

Ann Landers once said something to the effect of, if you're arguing with your spouse about where they're placing their shoes, your marriage is probably in trouble. This opinion piece reminds me very much of that. It's ostensibly about a revised class policy, but it becomes clear over the course of the column that she's bitter about so much more.

I can relate to the author in many respects. When I attended UL, students had to take the CAAP test to ascend into Upper Division (basically, to become a proper upperclassman). The test was essentially a college ACT (and in fact was an ACT product), meaning it cost money and you had to study for it. I took it in the summer of 2000, a semester in which I wasn't enrolled. I passed easily and that was that. That was the last time UL ever administered the CAAP. It had been the subject of debate for years (a front-page Verm headline sometime after I took the test was, "A pile of CAAP?"), and the school finally decided to ax it altogether. From then on, all you had to to get into Upper Division was accumulate enough credits. That was annoying to me, but also sort of amusing. I took it in stride.

Though I'm sure I might have felt differently if I'd had the feeling that I was in the exact wrong place and that I'd missed what I felt was a better opportunity. That's how Chelsea Yaeger apparently feels. Hers is less a column about the revised class requirement than about a much wider, personal regret. It's the university equivalent of arguing over the shoes.

I know that feeling too, though with cities instead of schools. If you like where you are, you can tolerate a lot. Hate it enough, and even the most trivial thing will set you off. The real litmus test is, how big a leap do you make from inconveniences to your unhappiness as a whole? Does every snag in your day make you think, "That is so typical of this town and its people and its culture as a whole?" If so, it shouldn't be too hard to see the solution.

This author says she applied to Loyola and called about scholarships, so she seems pretty serious about it. Word of advice to her and to anyone like her: Change of scenery can be refreshing, but it isn't a panacea. Some personal hangups have to be worked out no matter what. If you don't, you'll find yourself even more miserable when you realize everything isn't magically better because you're at the perfect private school. You've got to meet change in the middle.

Good luck.

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