By Alicia Jaimes
May 24, 2018.
Grant High School Seniors became the graduating class of 2018. These seniors, now young adults, hold many hopes, dreams and visions for their future. Their family members are beaming with pride and nostalgia and can't contain their excitement when their loved one strides across the stage.
Their time is done and the future is wide open. I wonder what they'll do with it. College? Work force? Army? I remember when I graduated and thought these were the only options available for the class of 2013. Boy, was I wrong.
Coming up on my five-year reunion, I never would've guessed that my classmates would be married, pregnant, traveling in other countries, etc. These ideas were in the distant future. How I didn't know the future was right around the corner.
I was 17 and full of nerve. I didn't want to further my education, I couldn't care less about the opinions of others and had no idea what to do with the empty canvas that now stood before me. I tossed my hat and tossed my cares. I was triumphant.
So, there I was. At my grad party with lots of people congratulating me on what felt like the longest quest to my diploma. “What are you gonna do now?” I was asked. “Work.” I answered. Their smile would freeze as they’d half-heartedly nod and ask about the possibility of school.
For the record: I don't hate school. I just had zero urge to go. I saw no point in wasting money going to a college when I had no idea what I wanted to do and didn't want to go in the first place. My family was disappointed, mad even, but I wasn't about to sacrifice my future for their version of my future. At my open house, I wanted to celebrate what I accomplished, not start dreading about what I'll do next. I didn't know what I wanted, but more importantly, I knew what I didn't want and that was good enough for me.
I'm going to say this loud for the people in the back:
It's okay not to want to go to school.
It's okay to take a year off.
It's okay to not know what you want to do for the rest of your life.
It's okay to pause.
So, I paused. I paused for a year and spent a LOT of time eating pizza rolls and binge-watching Grey's Anatomy. *recommended but also not recommended. You apparently don't have to be a freshman to earn the freshman 15. Ahem.
I kept in touch with friends as they began their journeys in marriage, parenthood, college, etc. and saw their pictures on Facebook. They were happy. I was happy.
Then, when my year of freedom was coming to an end, it happened.
I awoke one day and found myself missing school. The thought of studying and learning and testing my education was welcoming. The thought of living on my own was exciting. I was ready.
So, I applied to multiple colleges and chose Ferris State University as my next quest.
Now, coming up on my five-year reunion and my final year at Ferris, I'm still asked: “Do you wish you would've gone to college from the start?”
My answer is no. I wasn't ready. I may have took longer than other classmates but I believe that college isn't for everyone and you have to want to go in order to have a successful experience. If this means you have to take a year off to find yourself, that's okay. If this means you never go, that's okay. Celebrate what you've already accomplished. Have your party. You've earned it.
Congratulations class of 2018.
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