By Yilin Zhu

Our society, once a primitive sort of nomadic rock and dust, has progressed far beyond early days of industrialization. We have progressed to the point where self-fulfillment is a common goal, to the point where we think we’ve got most of the mechanisms of a finer functioning society all figured out.

We have not.

If you look very closely, past the layer of glossy brochures and perfect white smiles, past the brightly lit classrooms with the smell of fresh chalk in the air, past the newly painted yellow floors and shiny rows of lockers, you can see the tired dark rings under those bright eyes, and the distinct smell of caffeine clinging to unwashed sweaters, and the crumpled blue papers with pencil marks etched all over.

Ladies and gentlemen, behold the wonders of our independence, all manifested in our uncultivated abilities to execute such independence, all rolled up into one neat, blue title: course selections. Do you hear that? It’s the sound of a door opening and closing. It’s the door of opportunity, and it’s waiting for you!

There’s something profoundly problematic with a society that denies students the right to learn from trivial decisions, denying us the opportunity to learn the importance and necessity of true independence, denying us the learned capability to make informed choices, and then assuming that we would just know what to do when we have to make the most important decision of our lives.

Course selections are not insignificant. They lead us as milestones on our path to the future, to success, or lack thereof. Here, we are engaging in an ultimate contradiction.

Society says: “Oh look at those darned teenagers! They’re so immature; they can’t be trusted with anything.”

They say: “You’re a mature person, and you need to take responsibility for your actions. Here, start by planning out your whole life and choose your courses by tomorrow.”

They say that they will not judge us, and then they do.

Add the emotional torture of hormones and the wild impulsiveness of youth into the mix and, there! Do you see the problem yet?

It is ridiculous to expect teenagers to have sorted out their lives by the time they’re barely sixteen years old.

We are lost and confused, intoxicated with dreams of splendour and achievement, overwhelmed by the countless possibilities available to us; and then one day…

No more time to think, they say. You have to pick now.