Jade Owens

TRL’s Maddi Linsteadt and Hannah Cole share their thoughts on staying home or leaving for college.

Difference in diplomas

May 14, 2021

Moving on after high school imparts different feelings among each student. TRL’s Hannah Cole and Maddi Linsteadt share their perspectives on life after graduation.

Free falling into college

Pondering on the concept of leaving for college brings about many thoughts. Some good, some bad and others just plain scary. By scary, I don’t mean the fear of monsters under your bed. I am talking about the fear that comes with knowing that your life will never be the same. I know that as soon as I graduate high school, I am finishing a chapter of my life that I have been accustomed to for the past 18 years. This being said, it feels like I am starting an entirely new book rather than just closing out a chapter. I’ll be on my own, making decisions for myself that will ultimately lead to what the rest of my life will look like. Sure I’ll have my parents to call or friends to talk to, but as time goes on, what I get out of life will be totally reliant on my own choices. 

Moving five hours away from home will be a huge step for me. I have lived in the same house since I was born, and I am not very familiar with change. I will be leaving the people that I have bonded with for years to form new relationships with people I have never even met. Sure, this is exciting, but it’s also similar to skydiving. It looks fun, but until I have finally jumped, the panic and anxiety is built up inside of me. The familiar faces of my parents and siblings will be hours away and will only be seen through small screens. I am fortunate though to have grown up in a generation where we can be connected by our phones even if we live in different states.

I have written more than half of this column already and still haven’t mentioned my dog. It sounds silly, but I have never known life without one. My dog is part of my family and is definitely going to be one of things that I look forward to seeing the most when I come home to visit. Sorry if you are reading this and are one of my siblings. The dog takes priority. I will miss the people who I have grown up with for sure. It is awesome to see where all of my friends are going in their lives, but knowing that I am not just five minutes down the road from them will be different. It will be especially hard to accept that the two people that have been the most constant in my life won’t be near me. Part of me is excited to see what life will be like without parents, but I will admit that I’ll probably be secretly homesick in my dorm room.

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Out with the old, in with the new

When I stepped onto the University of Texas at Austin’s campus for my first ever college tour, I was immediately bombarded with what I could only properly refer to as the future. All of a sudden, I was informed about a myriad of opportunities, all designed to prepare me for quite literally the rest of my life. The wealth of opportunity college offers me is why I am ready to leave high school behind and embrace my future.

College offers me extensive research opportunities, whether conducting my own or participating in another’s. While I was an AP Research student this year, I’m able to involve myself in research from freshman year onward, unlike in high school where I could only conduct formal research my senior year. For a student like myself who wants to go into the medical field, this is an invaluable advantage of college

Another unique opportunity college offers is internship opportunities specific to the field you’re looking to eventually enter. While high school students can definitely obtain jobs and internships, most of them will be more general, entry-level positions, rather than a stepping stone into the higher workforce. Internships serve as a first step into your chosen field, and can result in guaranteed employment after graduation or great connections within your industry. In addition, many opportunities are sponsored and encouraged by the university through job fairs. Since your knowledge becomes more specialized after choosing a major, it makes college students the perfect candidates for these first peeks into more specialized industries, and represents another wonderful opportunity beyond high school.

Socially, college offers quite a few advantages as well. Some of us in the district have lived in the same place, talking to the same people, for the entirety of our lives at this point. While that’s all well and good, college offers the chance to befriend lots of new people, from all different places, from all different backgrounds. Whether with a roommate, in a quad, or pledging to some lifelong best friends through Greek life, college offers the opportunity to experience life outside the “Lovejoy Bubble.” Plus, haven’t we all wondered what it would be like to live with one of our best friends?

Finally, college, community college, the military, trade school or entering the workforce is our big transition into adulthood. Most of us at this point are 18 years old – able to drive, to vote, now considered adults in our greater society. Whatever happens after May 29 represents the bud of our youth finally blossoming into the flower of adulthood; we’ll learn skills necessary to become the doctors, lawyers, artists, musicians and architects of the future, just to name a few. Our time is now, class of 2021. It’s time for us to move past high school and take hold of our futures. Embrace your dreams.

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