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Part of the Short Stories Series.

The Dropouts -- 11/24/09

It is commonly understood how stressful and difficult it is for young people to leave home and attend their first year of college. The strain in the classwork alone is enough to deal with every day. Combining that with the emotional pressures of a relationship with the freedom to consider new boundaries of self-expression may become an overwhelming experience for some.

This is a story of two young adults who faced those challenges and lost.

A young man struggled with his first year because he wasn't adequately prepared for the level of coursework. He primarily attended school out of foolish pride that he could achieve anything. He didn't stop to consider the impact of his decisions.

As the months went by the reality he initially ignored eventually overtook him. Combined with the emotional stress he accumulated, he was forced to dropout of school at the end of his first year.

The young woman, younger than usual for a freshman student brought her own problems with her to college. Coming from a troubled home, she was happy to escape that situation. She was intelligent, but her newfound freedom amongst older women and men at college caused her new difficulties she wasn't prepared for there. She too succumbed to the pressures of that first year of college and dropped out after year one.

That summer after dropping out was a time for both of them to come to terms with their failures. Each one handled the situation differently. Neither one would recover completely from that failure. Each one would take years to understand the lessons learned.

Many years later they both would wonder why they had let happen what did happen. Then they would wonder why they hadn't later tried to rectify the omissions sooner. These were just some of the continuing lessons that the dropouts would uncover and absorb.

Had the dropouts trusted in themselves to a greater extent perhaps that would have mattered? Perhaps had they not allowed themselves to be manipulated by outside influences, the outcome might have been different?

Dropouts may eventually learn what they could have learned much earlier. They serve as examples of multiple opportunities that slip by at a particular time in life and whose ramifications last a lifetime afterwards.


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