Choosing the correct path after graduation

YS grad Kayla Haugh throwing her graduation cap
YS grad Kayla Haugh throwing her graduation cap

By Gabriel Haugh

As the class of 2024 is nearing the end of our high school career, we’re all thinking about what we’ll be doing after graduating. Some of us have it figured out, and some of us aren’t sure what path to take after high school. How do you know which is the right one? High school graduates Carson Ford and Kayla Haugh share their experiences.

Carson graduated from Central High School in 2021 and went to Drexel University the same year. He’s currently a junior majoring in computer science. 

He says there was a lot he had to learn since college is very different from high school. 

“It was definitely a big change especially since I went to a school in the city, away from home and everything, learning to be by myself, learning to be independent and being responsible for myself in many different ways.”

But Carson believes the decision to go to college was right for him.

“I think it was a good choice for me personally. Just because for computer science, they usually want to see a degree for jobs in the tech field. For other jobs though, I can see if some people wouldn’t go to college for it.”

He doesn’t think that college is the only successful path after high school. 

“I feel like there’s a lot of jobs that don’t require college and obviously not everybody’s built for college. Everybody has their own purpose in life. We need people of all different fields, all different areas, and not all of them require college.”

Kayla graduated from York Suburban High School the same year Carson graduated from Central. She made the decision not to go to college right away. Instead, she took a gap year and worked part-time jobs at Texas Roadhouse and Iridescent Salon & Spa. She shares what life after graduation was like for her.

“It was a lot different because I had worked at Texas Roadhouse during school, and then without school, it was just Texas Roadhouse. So I had a lot of free time.”

Seeing so many of her peers experience college was hard at first.

“For a while, I felt almost a little ashamed that I wasn’t going to a traditional college right after high school. So I struggled with that for a little bit. But after figuring out what I wanted to do, everything kind of worked out.”

Kayla’s part-time job at the salon helped her realize she wants to be an esthetician. She’s now in beauty school.

“It’s been amazing because I’m learning something I actually want to learn. And every day is so much fun.”

She shares her advice for teens who aren’t sure college is right for them but feel pressure to go.

“Don’t just go to college just because it’s something to do. I feel like a lot of people end up going to college undecided and then they spend all that money on it just to drop out eventually or just not know what they want to do. So I recommend taking a gap year if you don’t know what you want to do right after high school. If you know you want to go to college, that’s good for you then go for it. But if you don’t know what you want to do, just take some time to figure it out and create a plan for yourself. But don’t rush it because it’s totally okay if you need some time to figure things out.”

I’m Gabriel Haugh, Trojan News.