The Misconception

In a raggedy, wood-shingled home tucked away in an evergreen forest, a young girl snuggled up under her comforters, a book in her hands. As the second hand of her clock ticked by, the girl excitedly engrossed herself in a secondhand copy of Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightening Thief. The book, which was used enough to have gained that nostalgic old-book smell, was being read by the girl for about the millionth time. As her clock's hour hand approached 12, the girl finally put the book down on her nightstand, shut off her lamp, and fell into a deep, fantasy-filled sleep.
This young girl, who's name was Maya, L-O-V-E LOVED stories. Stories were her passion. Stories were her love. Stories were her life. Whether it was the hottest new TV show or an ancient copy of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Maya was in a perpetual state of fantasy. When Maya was younger, she used to read book after book after book because of the sheer enjoyment of immersing oneself in mystical new worlds full of magic and adventure. As Maya grew older, however, stories became the place where she escaped to.
Maya was a straight-A student, involved in plenty of clubs and having plenty of friends. She had a happy family life and a cute boyfriend, a stable job and a nice car, a pretty face and good health, yet she was still unhappy. The stories that she had watched and read all of her life kept her yearning for a more interesting life. She didn't want to just be Maya D'Amore, straight-A high school student. She wanted to be Maya D'Amore, world-renowned adventurer or Maya D'Amore, world-saving witch. Just plain old Maya D'Amore would not do.
So Maya waited, day in and day out for something to happen to her. For a mysterious young boy to approach her and whisk her off on some mystical adventure. For a letter to come in her mailbox, inviting her to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. For some radical new idea on how to cure cancer to pop into her head. Maya waited and waited, yet nothing quite out of the ordinary happened to her, except for her seemingly unending immunity to senioritis.
One day, however, Maya was called into her guidance counselor's office. It was the spring of Maya's junior year, a time when each student at her school met with their guidance counselor to put them on track for graduation and life after high school. As Maya walked into her counselor's office, her guidance counselor, Mr. Mosely, said cheerfully, "Good afternoon Maya. Please, take a seat." Maya closed the heavy wooden door behind her and tenderly seated herself in a gently cushioned chair.
"I see that you are well on your way to graduating next year," observed Mr. Mosely, glancing at his humming laptop, "so I'm not very worried about which classes you will be taking next year. What I do want to ask you about is what your plans are for after high school."
"Well," offered Maya, "I plan to go to college after high school."
"That's a good start," Mr. Mosely replied. "Which college were you thinking about attending?"
"I don't know," mumbled Maya. "I always assumed that the perfect college would come to me on its own, but I guess it never did."
"Well," suggested Mr. Mosely, "It might be a good idea for you to visit some colleges this summer. If you are struggling to decide on which colleges to visit, email me and I will help you figure that out. Now, after college, what do you plan on doing?"
"Making a difference" Maya stated proudly, puffing out her chest. " I want to change the world in a way so huge, that the whole world will remember me."
"And how do you plan on doing that?" asked Mr. Mosely, raising an eyebrow.
"Well, I'm not sure yet," Maya confessed.
"And how will you get there?" prompted Mr. Mosely.
"I'm not sure about that either," Maya replied, deflating a little in her chair.
"Well what have you done to try to change the world so far?"
"Well..." gulped Maya, squirming in her chair. "You see..."
Mr. Mosely sighed, leaning back in his chair. "Maya," he began to rant, "You don't need to have your entire life figured out after college, but you should have some general idea of what you want to do. You seem to have that. You want to go to college and make a difference. What you are lacking right now are the steps necessary to go in this direction. It says on the resume that you handed in earlier in the semester that you are involved in service clubs, and honors societies, and all manner of other things, but none of them quite fit together."
"It's because I like a lot of different things," Maya grumbled.
"That's okay, Maya," Mr. Mosely continued, "But what you need to do is work a little more towards college and changing the world, since they are your dreams. It seems that in today's era of pop culture, fame and fortune seems to just be handed to everyday characters who do nothing to work towards this fame, and this is a misconception that you, along with many other students your age, seem to share. If you want to go to college, you have to work for it. If you want to change the world and become famous for it, you have to work for it. It's not going to just be handed to you."
Maya inhaled sharply. Her whole world seemed to be turned upside down as she realized the truth in Mr. Mosely's words. She had been waiting all of this time for something, anything, to happen to her, instead of going out and getting it herself.
"Now in about one month," continued Mr. Mosely, unaware of Maya's revelation, "I want you to come back to me with a list of colleges you are going to visit this summer, a basic idea of what you want to do to change the world, and at least one thing you have done to achieve this goal. If you need any help, feel free to email me at any time. My door is always open."
"Thank you," blurted Maya, getting up out of her seat. "Really, thank you."
"Any time, Maya," Mr. Mosely said as Maya briskly walked out the door, carefully closing it behind her.
"A misconception, huh?" muttered Maya under her breath as she walked down the hall. "I'm going to have to clear that up real fast, aren't I?"
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