It’s no mystery that making post-graduate plans are tough for high school seniors, and their game plans are interestingly different. Pressure to enroll in a four year college the following fall semester is ever present in today’s society, but students from Holliston High School have taken much consideration into their final decisions, despite what is deemed socially acceptable by their peers.
Mrs. Sue Stone, the Career Service Coordinator at HHS said that most students who graduate from HHS are attending a two or four year college. Stone believes, “that college offers the opportunity for the social and emotional development as well as academic.” Students, “may discover that they love a certain subject and help them to realize their direction,” she added.
The faculty at HHS do encourage their students to make plans after graduation, and for most, college puts a major financial strain on students and their families. With private schools costing upwards of $50,000 a year, Massachusetts state schools can seem more attractive to prospective students.
Senior Courtney Brown plans to, “attend college. I’m going in undecided at Salem State University. I’m thinking about sociology.”
When searching for her perfect school, cost was the number one thing on her mind. “I didn’t look at private schools because they were too expensive and even some of the state schools like the University of Massachusetts Amherst are too much.”
In addition to finding the pricing of state schools attractive, Brown said, “I feel like there’s more diversity at state schools. Diversity is something I look for…different religions and backgrounds.”
When asked to compare state schools to private schools, Brown said, “Education wise they’re the same and [state schools are] a lot cheaper. State schools tend to be bigger, but no, I don’t really see any drawbacks…maybe the commuter percentage. If more people stayed on campus you could meet more people…you don’t want a dead campus.”
When it comes to a gap year, or taking a year off from school after high school, Stone believes they can be very beneficial to students who have yet to decide the direction they want to go in. Stone said, “Gap years can provide a time of tremendous growth, opportunity and exposure. Theres no race to get a degree.”
A gap year also provides time for young adults to earn money they can later use towards their education.
Senior Emily Day has taken a different route than Brown on her future plans. “I’m going to take the year off to decompress. I’m going to work full time at Target, just so I can make money and then figure out plans for my life.”
Day considered her mental health very seriously when deciding whether or not she was ready for college. Many young adults feel pressured to head off to school, but many end up dropping out or failing out because they are not mature enough to be living on their own. Every student is different, so there is no shame in taking some personal time.
Because Day aspires to be a teacher someday, she does plan to go to college eventually, but said, “I just feel like school has always been stressful for me and I do have an anxiety disorder, so dealing with that I need some time to get myself together before I go into the real world.”
Day said, “I honestly don’t have money to even deal with costs of living at school… My decision was more based on my mentality…There’s a lot of pressure that children put on themselves by setting such unrealistic expectations. A lot of people don’t consider their mental health and spend thousands of dollars to be unhappy.”
There are also students who have solid plans that do not focus on earning a college degree. When it comes to going to college, Stone said, “I think its our culture. It’s expected that everyone will go to college, so to stray from the norm is always difficult.”
Senior Neythen Yovicsin has no problem straying from the norm. “I’m going to join one of the branches within the US Military. Navy or Army. I’ve had meetings with the army recruiters, but I need to do physical testing and education testing.”
When asked what made him interested in joining the army, Yovicsin said, “I didn’t want to pay for college. The army offers benefits and pays for college during and after your service. Plus, the structure will be good for me.”
“It feels good to be one of the only kids [from HHS] joining the army… At first I felt a little out of place not being able to go to college because of my grades…I was never a classroom person, school was never my thing. I’ve always liked doing hands-on things.”
Yovicsin said that he plans on taking advantage of the free education the Army offers, and that his friends and family are very supportive of his decision.
Whether HHS students are heading to college in the fall, taking some personal time, or fighting for their country, the Senior class of 2015 as a whole is eager to graduate high school and open a new chapter in their lives. As Day said, “There are a lot of things to think about,” when making post-graduate plans.