Andreas and I were different, because we were the only people in our entire school to opt into continuing our non-mandatory education all the way through 5 years of college. Since no one really goes anymore, college is only $100 a year. When we were in our last year of mandatory education, Andreas and I made a pact- that we would one day finish out our complete education, all the way through college. We were only nine years old at the time, but we were smart for our age. Too smart, most of our teachers said, for us to stop learning and start earning so young. We listened to them, but to an expense- all our old friends left us. They said that we were crazy to keep learning when we could enter a world were we had to listen to no one, not even our parents, and we had money, and jobs! That world was to fascinating and appealing for them to ignore, and they went of into the dangerous world to become rich, famous, and admired by the world. Most of them ended up homeless or dying on the streets, of varying diseases and infections. Such is their punishment for being so naïve and arrogant (this is why it is a good idea to finish your education, so that you can figure things out and use words like naïve and arrogant).
One day, finally in our senior year of High School, Andreas and I were walking to our final day of class. “I don’t see the point in going to our last day, Maria. Finals are done and aced-” He held out his hand for a high-five. I returned it. “-and we’re not even doing anything today. I mean we’re practically the only people in the entire freaking class.” “Because! Some of these teachers achieved Prof. Rank and are moving up next year! We’ll even have some teachers that are 30 years old, and in Old Earth terms, that’s basically 60!! We need their respect to get advanced credit for next year!” While I was talking, Andreas’ attention had wandered to the wall of the bakery that had supplied many a breakfast for us when our parents had not remembered to stop by the grocery store or had burned our usual toast and eggs (this happened a lot, so we basically ate breakfast there every morning). “Hey, Andreas, what about that wall is more important than my face?” He blushed and whipped his head around so fast it was a blur. “Oh, I just saw this poster that’s advertising that they’re turning Earth: The Museum into Earth: The Theme Park and Gift Shop! And they’re taking job applications!” “Andreas, NO! Did you even hear a little bit of what I was talking about?! We need to go to college! And get our degrees!” “Maria, listen to me! There are practically zero jobs that even require High School Diplomas, let alone DEGREES!! It’s a total waste of time!” “No, it’s not! And getting qualified for jobs isn’t the point, anyways! It’s the sense of achievement, of doing something that no one in either of our families has done in almost a thousand years!!! Don’t you get that?!”~