Paths Beyond High School
Photo: Cory Lester/Eagle's Nest
For the Senior Class, the year is finishing its last stages.
The last pieces of homework and tests are being turned in for final grade and review, exams are attempted and completed, and the all-so-very-important graduation ceremony is on the mind of every graduating student.
Everyone is preparing for the future of their lives, even if the clear course of action is nowhere in sight.
For a large percentage of graduating seniors, perhaps a majority, the expectation of attending college is the course of action being taken as soon as high school is completed, and the hope of attaining higher education is a motivator unto itself.
Degrees such as teaching, accountanting, economics, etc. are all received from within the confines of a collegiate institution, and they provide their holders with chances of opportunity in many white-collar related fields that come with acceptable pay and benefits. Receiving a degree almost always results in the attainment of better-paying employment opportunities, a more stable and secure standard of living, and the pride of having a degree always plays into the scheme of events as well. It does not come without its challenges.
Long hours of study, difficult courses, exams, and papers, tuition and living costs, and the task of having to hold down employment if need be all present their respective difficulties. But for many graduates of high school, the benefits of college outweigh the risks, and the possibility of having a better life that often comes with having a degree serves to draw graduating students into the fold of university and college study.
For other graduating seniors, college does not present the best opportunity for them, and instead they opt to go into technical schools and apprenticeship programs, which directly enroll and train graduating seniors coming out of high school. In recent years, technical and labor fields of employment such as welding, auto mechanics, electrical fields, etc. have expanded rapidly, and the pay that comes with these jobs has proved inviting as well, which serve as keen motivators for graduating seniors who prefer more hands-on job experiences and labor in contrast to the more white-collar aspect of college-related employment.
In addition, the availability and widespread location of technical and labor related jobs also serve as prime motivators for graduating seniors, as they present a secure position of employment, and in case of residency concerns, these type of jobs often exist in other locations, which makes for a convient and stable career throughout one’s lifetime.
And for other graduating seniors, a career or enlistment into the armed forces presents the best opportunity for life beyond high school, and it comes with its share of trials and benefits as well.
The honor of serving one’s country is an alluring value for many, and the ability to see foreign places, having higher education subsidized, decent pay, living conditions, free healthcare, and extended benefits (such as future civilian employment opportunities) that come with being a seviceman all serve to make many graduating seniors choose the armed forces as their path of choice immediately after high school.
It does not come without important risks. Long periods away from home, the possibility of being killed or seriously wounded, and the emotional liabilities that come from being in the military make for a truly challenging and difficult career or temporary enlistment choice, one that not everyone can handle in terms of physical and emotional stress.
However, the financial benefits and the pride of having served one’s country in the armed forces make the military a highly respectable post-high school opportunity, and enticing one as well.
No matter which of these paths a senior takes after high school, they all represent an honorable way of making a standardized living in the immediate future, and they all lead towards of road of respectable citizenship and job opportunities well beyond life after high school.