Anxiously filling out tons of applications that cover the livings rooms’ coffee table, papers that will soon dictate what his future will be; either staying home to attend community college or going away to study performing arts. Anwar George, a 17 year-old senior in high school is finishing up his last few college applications, many that he has already sent out over a month ago. George is a senior at Pine Bush High School located in a semi-rural area in Orange County New York.
December is considered a nerve racking time for high school seniors who are applying for college because many deadlines for applications are quickly creeping up. George is planning on studying performing arts in college. He has always been interested in the arts, but this past November he had his first high school performance in the play Promedy. Though not being the initial reason why he wanted to continue on with performing arts after high school, it did peak his motivation to actually be more involved in pursuing acting as a career after college.
His drama and public speaking teacher, Sarah Ganely noticed his love for acting by saying, “In the public speaking class I can tell Anwar had this charismatic personality that would easily translate well on the silver screen or on a Broadway stage. He can make people laugh with his deadpan use of comedy.”
Some of the colleges George are applying to include: St. Johns University, Penn State, CUNY Baruch, and with even more choices still waiting for him in the mail. He says he gotten a lot of free applications in the mail, and he is taking this opportunity to apply to as many schools as possible so as to get a wide range of options. Naming Columbia and NYU as schools he considers on his wish list, but realistically he understands that this isn’t an option just yet.
“To be honest my thing is, my grades aren’t that good, my overall GPA isn’t high enough and I don’t have anything that’s stable for me. The only production I’ve done was Promedy and that was for high school and I don’t have enough to add one for the programs.”
Even without much experience on the stage, he is still driven to the art form. He notes recent films such as Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, an adaptation on a graphic novel that came out over this past summer as one of the reasons he wants to act.
“I could be the next Michael Cera”, laughs the almost six feet tall, dark brown complexion, and over 200 lbs., George. “I look just like him”.
“And that is what makes Anwar a likeable person; he’s a very comical man and knows how to liven up any situation. He’s an awesome friend” says Cody Carpio, a friend of Anwar’s.
Many agree he has the chance to be a comedian because of his comedic timing. However the 17 year-old hopes that he can experience it all. He wants to do “feel good comedies” like Austin Powers or serious roles such as the Inside Man. An idol of sorts, he mentions Denzel Washington as a “figure for young black men”.
“Movies like the Inside Man were so amazing and it made me think I could do that one day.”
With all these plans of pursuing a career in acting, there is still doubt in the back of George’s mind. He wants to attend a decent college where he can learn the skills needed for his career of choice, but he knows that there may be some drawbacks for him to go away for school once he graduates in June. Community college is plan B, but a plan he hopes doesn’t have to be his final choice.
“It’s like an extension of high school.” says George talking about community college.
With an older brother, Akil, who is in his second year at SUNY Orange County Community College, also known OCCC, and numerous older friends or peers who attend the school, he knows what it’s like to go there. A good number of graduating seniors from this area end up going to the community college after graduation because of multiple reasons such as financially it’s afforded and it’s close to home. George is aware that some of his friends will graduate with a diploma in the two years it is suppose to take, while some will be on their third or fourth year at a two year school. Some of the later may never finish. Personally he believes that if he goes away it will be better outcome for him.
His parent’s involvement in his college process is another huge reason why he doesn’t want to stay home. George’s mother went to Cornell University and is a teacher so she is a huge advocate for her son to have the full college experience. His father is going back to school now, taking online courses to finish his degree. Talking about the pressure he has to attend school, “To them community college is barely college, there’s some pressure to that. That’s one of my main reasons to go away and live my own life.”
Looking at his older brother as motivation to try and go away for school. He knows that he has good intentions of transferring, but George rather go away than deal with community school. Even though his brother and some of his friends go to OCCC, he has no intentions of going on just the bases because “all of his friends are going.” “My friends are very supportive” says, George, “they know that community college is temporary at least most of them.”
It’s coming down to the wire now. Applications are being sent it and this hopeful senior will be nervously waiting at the mailbox for either acceptances letters or rejections. As early as next month colleges will be sending high seniors their decisions, a determining factor for students like Anwar George who are anticipating whether they can transition from a high school student to a freshmen in college, rather than continuing on to the 13th grade.
George on his transition from high school to college, “Hey, you know whom you’re talking too? This is Anwar George, Anwar George. I’m prepared for anything.”