At this time of year, seniors are facing the most significant decision of their lives-college. However, college is not the only way to grow and thrive after high school. Other options, including taking a gap year, getting a minimum-wage job, or joining the military, deserve consideration.
Taking a gap year is not uncommon for public school students, but not common for Laguna seniors. Many of us thrust ourselves into a competitive college environment, unsure, insecure and confused.
Imagine giving yourself an entire year to reflect on your past and contemplate your future.
If you decided to take a gap year, how would you use that time productively?
Getting a minimum wage job is typical for ‘gappers’. The experience can have several benefits.
Newly employed students surround themselves with people from a wide range of backgrounds.
Working a minimum-wage job is humbling and makes you grateful for what you have, broadening your perspectives.
Higher education is not the only way of creating a meaningful life. Getting work done, whatever that may be is very satisfying and will give your life purpose.
Showing up to work with a positive attitude, completing tasks thoroughly timely, or merely showing up to a commitment despite personal struggles are examples of an admirable work ethic.
Making choices that get you out of your comfort zone and on to new experiences is vital for human growth.
Long-lasting benefits of leaving your comfort zone include exposure to new perspectives and more opportunities further down the road.
Joining the military is as uncomfortable as it gets. “I’m not opposed to joining the military straight out of college. I have a cousin who is in the military,” senior Brian McClintock said.
“We send letters to him, and he responds. He went to college for a couple of months, hated it and dropped out. He signed up for the military. Now he is the top marksman in his class.”
The military forces physical training, rough mental callusing and instills a strong sense of nationalism into the soon-to-be soldiers some of whom return as leaders in society.
Many veterans who leave the military have developed senses of discipline and create busy schedules for themselves.
Without a schedule, we grow idle and bored. A schedule is constant and forces us to focus and complete tasks, which is highly beneficial.
As humans, we have an inborn desire to push ourselves and keep ourselves busy even if we don’t want to.
Those who choose the traditional path from high school to college are excited about the next step in their lives.
“I got accepted early action to my top college choice of Caltech mid-December, and it was a big relief because now I can spend time exploring my passions and not worry about college,” senior Kai Nakamura said.
“Personally, this extra time was beneficial for me to do STEM.” Fatta Koroma, an international student-athlete at Laguna, has an interesting perspective in regards to the college process.
“My brother and my sister have gone to college. But not a college in the U.S..Back in Sierra Leone, you don’t have those types of people. The people that are scholars.”
“In college, I am so excited to meet people that are scholars.”
The vigorous high-school environment of Laguna prepares students for college and the majority of students going off to college are ready for the tremendous amount of work presented to them and are excited to pursue their passions.
Whether you choose to attend a four-year college or not, know that whatever decision you pick is the right one.