So you are graduating…

As a log of people’s senior years is coming to an end. With this, a lot of choices that a lot of people are reasonably stressed out with because it’s only now most of the senior class is being treated like adults. Even with the stress from work, graduating, schoolwork and more the future doesn’t need to be too stressful.
Seniors sadly have a strict deadline on this. We graduate this May after all. And as for how most of the 2022 class has stated they feel like they’re treated like children when their adult lives are supposed to begin in a little over two months. For some, of course, they’ve known it’s coming up, and that’s great. For others well, time kind of pulled the rug under their feet and they went from 10th grade when covid shut us down to being about to graduate.
For starters, you just have to know where you’re going and remember every option is a good choice if it works for you. If that means going to college, taking a gap year, going straight into the workforce, a trade school, or even moving out and doing any of the above. The best way to know where to think about going is talking to one of the guidance counselors here at school. And for the younger classmen, it’s never too early to try and start putting a plan you want to work for in place.
First off there’s higher education. If you are unsure what you want to do as a career, don’t do a whole huge major, you could spend thousands of dollars for a degree you never use! A lot of colleges depend on your GPA but there is a trick to that. If you have a bad GPA from messing around in the past there is a way to fix that for colleges! If you get your bachelor’s from a community college, such as GRCC that’s right in the area, bigger colleges will look at those instead of high school years.
If you wanna take a gap year there’s nothing wrong with that. In 2015 a national alumni survey asked students why they took one. 92% said it was to grow and get life experiences, 85% Said it was to explore the world and learn other cultures, and 82% said it was to take a break for academics. That’s only from that survey. It’s completely fine to take a gap year. Even better colleges don’t look down on the admissions of people who take gap years. Colleges have become much more accepting of students taking a gap year. The only thing with a gap year is you have to be committed to going back and doing something with that. Whilst 90% of people who take a gap year do go to college within a year, only 40% earn their degree.
If the workforce seems like the right choice for you right after high school you should look into higher-paying jobs. Whilst employers brag about offering $15 an hour it isn’t really a livable wage. You’d be living paycheck to paycheck. So while it’s a good-paying job in high school, the real world doesn’t work the same way. You want to be smart about saving as well. Split your funds in a way that makes them livable. Most people like to follow the 50/30/20 rule. 50% for bills and regular expenses, 30% for entertainment purposes, and 20% for saving and investments. Though any dividing of your check that works for you works. You also need to remember you need to have funds in case something bad happens. Such as something important breaks, your car stops working, you get laid off, ANYTHING could happen at any point and you’ve gotta be prepared.
If a trade school seems right for you you still have to know what kind of trade you want to go into. There are a lot of trades you can learn and a lot of pros and cons to all of them. Like plumbers, you make a lot of money, can determine your own pay if you’re good at it, but it really stinks, literally. The cleanest job you will probably do is fix the pipes under a sink or shower, even then it’s still pretty dirty. All trades if you’re good at them you can run your own business, or under people who “run” one but you are in charge of yourself.
Moving out right away or even the first year is one of the harder things to do. The minimum wage doesn’t add up with the cost of renting, it’s still possible though. Realistically if this is your choice and you haven’t been preparing for a while you’re not gonna move out when school lets out, sorry to crush your hopes. You need to basics first, of course, bed, kitchenware, bathroom supplies, cleaning utensils, and so much more. You also need the first three months’ rent right off the bat. And there’s not a lot of places you’re gonna get rent cheap unless you sacrifice safe locations and cleanliness. In the end, though it’s a hard thing to be completely prepared for. The advice I was given was to write down the things you use every day or near every day so you don’t forget the little things.
No matter what none of these choices are right or wrong. They all need preparation and knowledge and all of these only scratched the surface. Don’t panic at the last second to have your life thought out, you’re life will change regardless of how much you plan it now. If you need a gap year before you go into any of these choices as well that’s fine! It’s a hard decision and starting your adult life can be scary. Talk to your guidance counselor, teachers, parents, and family to figure out a plan that works for you. This was only to get you thinking after all.