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The Real World

Let me just clear some things up for you...

Reality is a lovely place, but I wouldn’t wanna live there. 

In (yes, I realize that it has been quite a while since I last posted), someone started rambling on about how public education is the way to go, and how there are only a few majors that are worthwhile. I’m not going to focus on any of that nonsense. The only part of the note that really irritated me was the last few sentences: “You said that you go to [a] small Catholic school. That means that everyone looks the same, acts the same, has money and the same basic background. Brace yourself. The world does not look or act like…”

And that was it. The last sentence was left unfinished, but I knew how it was going to end. I don’t want to start bashing that reader for what his/her words were trying to tell me; rather, I’d like to clear some things up for you all, my readers.

Let me start with the quote that’s at the top of this post. It’s from an Owl City song called “The Real World.” It’s, quite basically, saying that the real world is a gift to be a part of, but sometimes our fantasies have much more favorable environments and outcomes than the ones reality brings up.

I’m gonna leave that quote alone for a second. (I’ll get back to it.) Now, let me explain what Catholic school is really like. I may go to a very small, all-girls Catholic high school, but that doesn’t mean anything. Sure, many girls share the same hobbies, likes, and dislikes, and we’re all, for the most part, very courteous and respectful, but that doesn’t mean that we’re all carbon copies of each other. Some girls are preppy; some are nerds. Some girls are laid back; some are perfectionists. Some are big; some are small. Some are rich as anything.

And then there’s me: the average, middle-class girl who is lucky to have the opportunity to go to such an amazing school. Without going too much into detail, I can honestly tell you all that I get financial help from certain people in my family, and I could not be more thankful for their help. Because of these loving and selfless people in my life, I am able to experience the nurturing Catholic environment of Our Lady of Mercy Academy.

Granted, Mercy does feel somewhat sheltered. However, don’t get me wrong; it’s a good sort of shelter—a safe haven, if you will. When I go to school, I don’t feel threatened by anything or anyone. Each day, I know that I am in a protected and morally enriching environment run by caring people.

However, as much as I wish I could say that it is, it isn’t an accurate representation of the real world, and this is where Owl City’s quote comes in to play. Not too long ago, I went to Roosevelt Field, and as I was leaving, I held the door for someone. To me, holding the door is second nature (we all hold doors for each other at school), as well as an act of general kindness; to her, it was a surprise. She commented on my action by explaining that most people just let the door hit her in the face, and she was more than glad to see someone not following the same routine. It really pointed out to me that the world inside of my school is vastly different from the real world. However, I would never trade my high school experience for anything else in the world.

Catherine Litvaitis is a Wantagh resident and junior at  in Syosset. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

kristin pappas July 23, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Dear Catherine, I enjoyed reading your blog, "The Real World." I am happy that you are enjoying your high school experience at Our Lady Of Mercy. Each student, no matter their grade, should feel, as you do, safe during the day while learning takes place. You have a secure and confident personality which echoes through your finely chosen words. Some kids, your age are not as fortunate to have the privilege of private education and all it affords. However, that is no excuse for them to bash others. That, (manners/respectfulness/toleranc) is from their up-bringing, not from their education. Public education has a hard time giving all which is deemed necessary for students, in the time allotted. Tutorials, and prepping for state exams, as you well know, is extra. As is, persuing a talent/gift such as art, music, and phys. ed. Kids are all different (what a beautiful thing!) but they all have somethings in common. They all grow into adults who appreciate having someone hold the door open for them, unexpectedly. Respecting each other, and their differences, will bring Peace to our troubled world. I am glad to know, YOU are in it!!! <3
Chris Wendt July 24, 2012 at 11:17 AM
Catherine, you have expressed a keen realization of this salient point: each person's perception is reality for them. You not only live in the real world, you are the real world. If everyone let the door slam in the face of the next person, then all any of us would ever know in life is having doors slammed in our own faces by everyone else. Doors-in-the-face would be the societal norm, and who would ever think to hold a door for someone, or why? In the deliberately fashioned nurturing environment of OLM Academy, you have been taught and shown values which you have embraced and made part of your own reality, your most important piece of this, the real world. As you go out into the world, be really proud to hold doors open for others. I am sure some very important doors will be opened for you in the future.
Judy Litvaitis August 25, 2013 at 02:11 PM
Hi everyone. I'm Catherine's mom. This week I dropped Catherine off at college to start her freshman year. I thought her readers would like to know where she ended up. Catherine is attending RPI in Troy, NY. She did not get here because her parents had money. She got here because she worked really, really hard, and she's unbelievably smart. It also didn't hurt that she had a loving extended family cheering her on. She will be studying Game and Simulation Design/Computer Science and hopes to continue to write and explore the things that she enjoys, like theater and being involved in youth ministry. My daughter is one terrific kid, and as her mom, I do appreciate all the nice comments her readers have posted over the years. Thank you.

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