WHAT’S NEXT? Future looms as students plan for life after high school

Looking for a future-- With an armful of pamphlets and fliers, junior Montana Morales talks to a military representative during College Day in the upper gym on Oct. 10. Morales said she has decided to go to junior college to get her basics out of the way. “Then I want to go to a university to study biology to become a conservationist to try and save anything,” Morales said.

Every day for weeks, right after the pledges, a voice has announced that the school-day SAT registration ends today. Paying attention to announcements like this helps students with their futures. The SAT will be held at school on March 4 to help more students get access to the test.

  “I’m taking the SAT to better my score from the last time I took it,” senior Martha Neufeld said. “I want to go to Texas State Technical College and get my pilot’s license and possibly get a degree in physics.”

  Seniors are working on bettering scores and filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

  “Filling out the FAFSA for college was the hardest thing ever,” senior Anette Sanchez said. “It took a lot of time and a lot of patience. I did the first part with Mrs. McAlpine, and then she gave my mom an appointment so she could come and finish my FAFSA.”

  The FAFSA determines how much financial aid a student can get for college. A student whose parents don’t make very much money are eligible for grants that don’t have to be paid back. Across the nation, statistics show that 69.7 percent of 2016 high school graduates enrolled in college. Seminole High is under the national average as 61 percent of SHS seniors said they are going to college in a recent War Whoop poll.

  Graduates often put off thinking about their futures. One reason is a fear of the unknown or grappling with a career field to work toward.

  “I plan on attending Texas Tech University and get my masters in a field I’m not sure about yet,” senior Kassey Gallardo said. “I’m worried because Seminole is all I’ve known for my whole life, but I think this change will be good.”

  Often, students have a goal that might not be attainable, so a back-up plan helps.

  “I want to be a professional athlete or a model for fashion,” junior Daniel Weedman said. “If that doesn’t work out, I’ll be a tech guy.”

  If students aren’t worried about their futures, their parents probably are.

  “I think my parents are more reluctant to accept I’m graduating and wanting to move out and leave Seminole,” senior Jasmin Klassen said. “They tell me I’m to come back every weekend, and in my head, I’m like ‘I’ll come to visit but not that much’. I’m pretty sure they’d prefer me to just stay in Seminole and get a job here, right out of high school, but I just don’t think that’s for me. I want to see other things and do other things. There’s nothing wrong with Seminole or not going to college, but I think I’m just hungering for new things and experiences, not to mention this girl wants to play college tennis.”

  If students are confused about their future plans, Career Counselor Larissa McAlpine has a few suggestions.

  “Helping students find their passion and understanding what it will take to get to the job you want is very important,” McAlpine said. “I encourage research so students need to analyze options. The school provides opportunities for their path–it’s just the student’s job to take these paths. One example is nursing. Look around at nursing schools and cost admissions to find what works for you.”

  McAlpine encourages students to invest in their careers before they choose to do it so they truly know if they love that career. 

  For instance, if students think they want to be a physician, they should take advanced science courses. That way, they will find out if they are suited to those courses before they spend $1,000s on college courses.

  One pitfall is the fear of failure.

  “I want to go to college, but I’m not sure what I want to do,” junior Reese Cooper said. “I’m worried about not knowing what to be and being 30 years old and having a job I don’t love doing. I’m just really scared to make the wrong choices.”