Teens need to figure out goals before senior year

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As teenagers grow and get closer to the point of adulthood, the inevitable absence of the shelter of adolescence becomes a concern in the forefront of our minds. This time of the year marks the frenzy of the seniors filling out and submitting their college applications and deciding exactly what it is that they want to accomplish in their lives, and even though I am only a junior, it is never too early to start thinking about those things. The underclassmen need to be motivated more to figure out their goals before it gets to this point in their senior year because I know many seniors in that place right now who have no clue what to do after high school.

Making a commitment to a college, a major, or a job after high school is a scary thought.  Many teenagers, myself included, are thinking that whatever they decide to do is going to stick with them for the rest of their lives, making the choice they need to make a huge task. A lot of teenagers are not interested or even knowledgeable about most majors presented at colleges, so the fear of the unknown becomes a factor in a teen’s future.

For me, being a teacher has always been in the back of my mind, but it has never seemed like something I completely wanted to do. I have looked into different teaching programs and other majors relating, but nothing has stood out to me as a job I would like to have for my whole career as an adult. That is the way it is for many kids my age, so we need to be more educated at school about what opportunities become available to us after each class we take or which overall path we take in a higher education.

Recently, I went to a college fair held at the Lake Elsinore Outlets and I got a lot of information that I had no clue about before. I went through all of the college tables and got pamphlets to look at later. The people at the tables were providing so much information about their schools and college overall. That was very helpful to me.

When I got home, I looked through all of the pamphlets I had gotten, from out of state colleges to those only an hour away, I read through everything. I learned about the various financial aid opportunities available at each individual school as well as the grants and aid made available by the state, I looked at all of the majors and narrowed them down to a few that interested me and looked at the prices of tuition for each university. As I went I put the pamphlets into a yes pile, meaning they were a possibility for me based on what I wanted, and a no pile, meaning that the college did not really have what I wanted. That was a great way to sort through my options and it gave me a basis to grow those options before applications next year. Overall, my search was narrowed down to universities in Southern California with options of education and psychological development.

Going through that process of selection did not give me exactly what I wanted to do or take away the earlier mentioned fear of the unknown, but it did make me feel a little bit more comforted in knowing what to expect when I do get to the point of leaving high school and going to college.

Another thing that teenagers need to be thinking about leading up to their senior year is exactly how they are going to pay for certain things in college. We need to be aware of the various financial aid opportunities available to each person, so that we can prepare for the costs of a higher education. Teens also need to figure out if they want to live on campus or if they can commute to school every day, because living in campus adds a considerable cost to the total.

If after high school you plan to take on a job rather than college, you have to be capable of making a plan for your future based on your resources. Starting a business is a viable option for those without a college education, and with hard work at a young age, starting a business can turn out to be more successful and rewarding than a job after college.  Teenagers can spend time researching for themselves what their options are if they do not want to go to college.

The life of an adult is a terrifying thought for most people my age, so anything we can do to prepare ourselves for what will occur in our futures will help put us more at ease.

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Spencer Massicot