With our senior year winding down, most of our classmates have only a rough knowledge of what the coming years will bring with them. For us and most of our friends, new schools beckon, and with them new people, experiences and lifestyles.
This August and September, our friends and classmates set off for colleges and experiences all over the map. Some chose a community college nearby, some the University of Washington, Western Washington University or Washington State University. Others elected to take a year or two to work, make money and experience life outside of school. Several of our peers will join the military and many will attend out-of-state colleges and universities. We decided to ask a few of our friends what awaits them next year.
Our friend Darcy Page will be attending Evergreen State in Olympia. She loves the relaxed, free atmosphere and knows she will receive an excellent, self-driven education. She’s also intrigued by her many diverse teachers and fellow students. She tells us that at first Evergreen’s hippy, grade-less reputation bothered her, but she realized she needed to disregard other people’s less-informed opinions as potential influence on one of the most important decisions she can make about her own future. Darcy was also drawn by the giant rock-climbing wall open to any student at Evergreen.
Another friend, Veronica Brown, is headed to The George Washington University in Washington D.C.
Veronica, in contrast to Darcy, is drawn by her new school’s prestige and competitive atmosphere. She is already focused on a diplomacy-oriented career path, which is why she chose a school located in the nation’s capital. Another enticing feature for Veronica is that along with maid service in all freshman dorms, she gets a library card to the Library of Congress. She, like other college-bound seniors, is both excited and nervous about leaving the Pacific Northwest for a big city on the East Coast.
Meanwhile, another friend, Hailey Johnson has decided to take a different path altogether. She was accepted by Sarah Lawrence College, in New York State, but chose to defer a year before she begins. Hailey felt unready to jump right into school again, wanted to figure herself out and also do something productive with her time off. She decided to apply to a few service-oriented organizations around the world, mostly in Latin America.
Hailey might end up teaching children English in Sri Lanka or tending wildlife in a reserve in Ecuador. One particularly intriguing program involves sustainable agriculture on an island in Costa Rica, with a twist: all the workers participate in yoga together. Needless to say, we’re all a little jealous.
On the other hand, our friend Billy has chosen to continue doing what he loves; playing marimba. He already plays in two marimba bands and directs one.
Next year he expects to work, save money and play music. He might explore the “Great Outdoors” a little, by taking a trip into the Rockies. But he doesn’t feel college is for him. Real knowledge, he feels can be gleaned from the real world, not taught in a classroom. And Billy does want to learn. Our friend says he knows it will feel a little weird not going to school while everybody else does, but he feels it’s better for him to do what he wants, not what everyone thinks is the “right path.” Billy knows what he loves and wants to follow through with that.
Our experiences over the coming years are bound to be unique and, more importantly, right for us. No matter how we choose to educate ourselves, through college, volunteering or just living, we we’ll learn.
Barbara Haupt and Philip Hofius can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.