Alternatively titled, "When you are struck by the crushing fear that your sub-par high school experience may have actually been your peak and that it's all mediocrity from here on out."

I currently work part-time alongside a former high school classmate of mine. Though not particularly close during our time in high school, we now cling to each other as something familiar in otherwise foreign surroundings.

Earlier this week, a particularly slow day on the job, we wound up poring over a computer monitor and watching the pilot of a teen drama. It quickly spiraled into a hate-watch, in which we critiqued the casts' wardrobes and how unrealistic the show was in comparison to our own high school experience. When one of the characters expressed worry over applying to medical school, my coworker, who happens to be a med student, snorted. "Getting in is the easy part. They have no idea how hard it is."

I hummed in agreement. "High schoolers are very ambitious."

"All of those big hopes and dreams of going to ivy league schools and faraway cities, and they're just going to end up right here," he gestured to our surroundings, a dismal office in a community college.

In the days following, the pessimism of the conversation has continued to reveberate in my mind. However much it may have been influenced by our sulkiness over being at work for a prolonged period of time, it provided insight into just how resigned I have become in the two years after high school graduation.

Throughout high school, I was a chronic daydreamer. I spent hours scrolling through online images of dazzling cityscapes, rolling waves, and the hundreds of rail-thin, tan young girls that were flashing thousand megawatt smiles at the camera in the foreground of each one of those photographs.

I envied them. How liberating it must be, to have the means to travel farther than the confines of your hometown, to intermingle with perfect strangers and carve out a life of your own, away from the small minds that you outgrew ages ago. Instead, I was chained to a schooldesk for the majority of my time, forced to interact with the likes of those that I had no interest in speaking with after school and memorize learning materials just long enough to regurgitate them onto a scantron.

Now that I am no longer bound by the shackles of the American public school system, what's stopping me from becoming one of those girls?

To put it bluntly, the spark that I had as a sixteen-year-old has dulled some, weakened by the dampness of adulthood. With bills and college looming overhead like immense hurdles, my mind and body are caught up in a frenzy to avoid being left behind. It feels as if I have no time to entertain girlish fantasies. I relate more to the Golden Girls than to any John Hughes film. The transition from adolescence to young adulthood is the supposed prime of a person's life, and yet I have surrendered myself to the belief that my life is already over before it even had the chance to begin. My motivation for a quixotic future has been eroded by the mundane cycle of my everyday life.

Where did that girl go, the one who spent hours with her chin tucked into her palm, envisioning seaside homes and unique occupations? The majority of my time is now poured into work and school, both my mind and body isolated from the world.

I cannot help but wonder: Is this what happens to all adults? The janitors clad in navy uniforms, the secretaries with fingers calloused from typing, did they too once have hopes for a life brimming with adventure and travels? Did they only watch helplessly as those hopes began to fade further and further into the distance, as if dissipating into a dreamy fog?

Is that what I am destined to? Or will a newfound zeal present itself from the woodworks? Will I unearth an untapped passion, one that licks those glowing ashes inside of me back to a flaming ember with newfound vigor and zeal?

Are my visions slipping between my fingers, or am I willingly letting them go?

[ When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. - 1 Corinthians 13:11 ]