‘What Will I Do When High School is Over?’


Judy Nakhla

College is just one option that students can pursue after high school graduation, but when is it time to start thinking about those options?

Judy Nakhla, Reporter

WOODBURY — To elementary and middle schoolers, high school can seem like a daunting place. A whole new level of academics with a different atmosphere can be intimidating. But what seems to be intimidating to high schoolers is this question: “What will I do when high school is over?”

One of Nonnewaug’s guidance counselors, Stephanie Gutierrez, says that she hears about this dilemma all the time. 

“With today’s society, it is more expected that students go to college even if they don’t know what they want to do,” said Gutierrez. “According to admissions counselors, roughly 80% of college students change their major at least once.”

Gutierrez believes that the reasons some kids do not want to go to college might be because they already have an idea for what career path they’ll choose and think college is not necessary for it. Or sometimes, students think school is simply not for them and would rather not pay for it.

“During my time, you didn’t have much choice on what job you wanted to pursue. Over time, more choices have become available,” Gutierrez continued. “And I think that’s very hard, at 17 years old to decide what you want to do when there are so many options and so many jobs that require college.”

For those who need help finding their right career path, Gutierrez advises talking to others and getting exposure to as many jobs as possible: “Try to find different people in different careers and ask them questions. What pushed them to do this type of work? Do they like it? You don’t know what options you really have unless they are laid out for you, and that’s what we try to present for our kids.”

Freshman Anna Mylus says she’s thinking about a wide variety of different options for her future. Mylus might consider pursuing careers in teaching, building and architecture, law, biology, writing, or music.

Mylus thinks she had a hard time deciding on one thing because of fear. She, like many others, is afraid of choosing a path that they will hate a few years down the line.

“When it comes to a career, I would love to do something which I’m passionate about and could live with for the rest of my life,” said Mylus. “What if I choose something that doesn’t suit my interests? If I lose interest in my career, I worry that I will realize too late and end up losing lots of time. As a result, this ends up creating a loop of self-doubt and fear, which leaves me to wonder what to go after in the first place.”

There are many jobs and professions out there that aren’t considered as prestigious as doctors and lawyers, but can potentially combine the interests of a student. For example, a person who has a passion for art but is also interested in medicine might go after medical illustration/animation (earning about $4,979 a month, according to ZipRecruiter.com).

Right now, though, knowing exactly what one’s future holds isn’t incredibly important. High school is supposed to be an experiment.

“Part of what high school is for is taking the time to explore, enrolling in electives, and discovering things you never thought you would enjoy,” Gutierrez said.