Can the Appalachian Trail be a metaphor for life? Let’s ask Sarah Anderson of St. Anthony Village, who told me on Wednesday that she hated high school in Roseville and she didn’t want to go to college. “Then all of my friends moved out of state because I hung with really smart people and they were going to private colleges.”
So Anderson went to Georgia with a friend, to hike the Appalachian Trail. That’s the 2,175 mile Appalachian Trail. “Two nights into the trail… I called my mom and I was bawling, and I was, like, ‘I want to come home. Come and pick me up! I don’t want to be here.’ And my mom said, ‘We’re not coming for you. You still have 2,170 miles to go. Get moving.'”
She made it to Maine. Her days of not following through on anything she started were over.
When she got home, she admits, she had nothing else to do, her parents were willing to pay for school, so she went to Century College, where she’s now working on her general courses before transferring to the University of Minnesota veterinary school. “It’s a lot of school, and I hated school, but the whole AT experience really put things in perspective for me. I’d rather work hard now for something I’ll enjoy 20 years down the road, than be lazy now and have something ‘meh, whatever’ 20 years down the road,” she said.
“I’m a completely different person. School is nothing (difficulty wise). For the first time in my life I actually care about tests and I’m getting good grades. Now I actually want to get A’s and get a good GPA. It’s stressful to do so, but I’m like ‘meh, whatever.'”
“You get out of it what you put in and it’s as hard as you make it. If you put in a lot of work, sure it’ll be hard, but you’re going to get the A grade back and you’ll be a smarter person for it in the end. It’s just going to take a lot of time,” said Anderson, who describes herself as “a pretty chipper pessimist.”
She’s less chipper about the economy. “The government is lazy. They don’t care about the people out here in the middle class. They’re not progressive, they just recycle old ideas. We need something new. We need something fresh, and I don’t see that happening.”