What’s Next


Courtesy of AJ Song

AJ Song decks out in his Stanford gear to show off his pride in his future school.

Tiffany Vo, Photojournalist

As high school approaches an end, students face the reality of leaving the comfort of their own homes. A routine of seeing their friends and family every day becomes one of meeting new faces daily. While some embrace the new journey that lies ahead, others fear the unexpected surprises. It’s finally time to move forward and ask ‘what’s next?’


College. For a majority of seniors, life after high school consists of moving into new dorms, making new friends, and furthering their education. With a bigger campus, being a freshman all over again can be painful, yet nostalgic. Ava Kough (12), a gifted and talented dancer, auditioned for multiple art schools located throughout the nation. When asked if she was nervous to move away from her home and begin again as a brand new student in order to pursue her talent, she chuckles and understands that “it’s scary to have so much distance from her family,” but the new location “allows [her] to explore and learn from a different environment.”


Work and Careers. After or even during high school, most students turn eighteen and are now legally adults. For most, this milestone is accompanied by a pursuit for a job. Although the process may seem nerve racking, working for the first time helps build skills in customer service. Dependence on parents for money begins to diminish as students earn their own balance and pay for their own expenses. Though it may seem easy to obtain a job, the manual labor can become difficult to manage. Balancing school, a job, friends, and mental health becomes harsh and chaotic, but the outcome brings maturity. Noelle Roskopf (12) advises students to “take time off for themselves” because “tiring [one’s] body can lead to immense stress.”


Freedom. Having a sanctuary at home will always be comforting; however, the ability to finally leave one’s community after years of being stuck in one place can feel rewarding. Students should keep in mind, however, that “with great power come great responsibility.” Students no longer need to rely on their parents for permission to indulge into any activity they desire. They have the freedom to determine whether their actions will bring them consequences. Mistakes will inevitably happen, but with every mistake, a lesson can be learned.


Identity. In high school, students can be limited in expressing their true identity. Growing up in the same neighborhood and seeing the same people for the entirety of childhood can make self expression difficult. With the opportunity to leave their hometown and meet new people, high school graduates can finally find their niche, expand their horizons, and discover different styles appealing to them.


No matter the path, opportunities will arise for students to develop and mature into the best versions of themselves. When one door closes, another will open. It’s not the destination, but the journey. Whether it be community college, a university, a full time job, or a gap year, remember to prioritize yourself because it is only worth it if the end results bring happiness.