Column: What Now?

D. Maleny Capetillo

Start the countdown, seniors, because we are almost done. Graduation is just over a week away.

Many of us seniors are already preparing for our postsecondary educations, while others get ready to join the workforce. Most are probably ready to graduate and move on to bigger and better things.

I am one of the few people who is dreading graduation. One, because I have enjoyed being a student at Chilton High School and, two, because I don’t know if I truly am prepared to enter “the real world.”

As a senior, students are expected to know what path they are taking and where that is going to lead them, but the truth is we have no idea if we are making the right decisions or if they are going to lead us where we want to end up.

There are potentially four directions to take after high school: continue education, join the workforce, join the military or take a “year” off.

Most students choose to continue their educations. The school and area of study we choose will greatly determine our lives. One decision could make or break our futures, but no pressure, right? It’s not like we had 12 years of schooling to figure it out.

Decisions like these are not easy to make, and even when we do decide what we want to do, we still have no idea if we are making the right choice. For me, going to Fox Valley Technical College was a hard choice to make, but I want to believe it is the right one. I don’t want to stop there, though. After earning an associate degree in business management, I hope to transfer my credits to the University of Wisconsin Green Bay to earn my bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Nonetheless, all I can think about is the money that continuing my education is going to cost me, and I bet that is what stops most of us from going to a university right away.

There are those who take a year off to work and save up money while others take out loans and all kinds of financial help in order to continue their educations. And how many of us are going to college just to go or because it is expected of us?

Only 59 percent of first-time, full-time undergraduate students graduated in 2009, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Think about it: a little over half of students who attend college actually graduate. Where do the rest of these students go?

Society has taught us that attending a postsecondary institution is the natural step after high school, but many seniors choose to enter the workforce or military instead.

While we are all going in different directions, we all want the same thing: to be content, if not successful, in our lives.

However scary graduating is going to be, we can all only hope that we are choosing to do the right thing. And to all the 2018 graduating seniors, I bid you farewell and, hopefully, a “see you later.”