• Jaclyn Shapiro - Daemen College Senior

College, Careers, and In Between Q&A Part 1: The High School Senior


When high school students are in their senior year, there are two feelings that most students seem to have. The feeling of relief/freedom of being finally done with school, and the stress and apprehension about going to college. The two are exact opposites, being done with school vs. just starting 2, 4, or 7+ more years of school. There are feelings of stress when it comes to deciding what college your going to, what your major will be, and if you even want to go to college. Many seniors talk about college application essays, getting accepted into certain colleges, and making plans to move out of state for school. But the stress may be overshadowed by the excitement of the idea of independence and new experiences.

To better understand the thoughts of people just about to graduate high school, four WNY high school seniors have been interviewed. Their names are Adam (Williamsville), Alexis (Williamsville), Ben (Lewiston-Porter), and Sarah (Kenmore). Their last names have been taken off. Each of the students were given the same interview questions about what their thoughts are about what college will be like, if they know what they want to do in college, what opportunities they think they will gain, and if they feel prepared for college.

Adam

Q: Are you going to college after you graduate high school?

A: I am attending college after graduating from high school in June, as has been my overarching plan since I first began my academic career.

Q: What made you decide to go to college after you graduate?

A: In many ways, college seemed a given next step in my academic and social path. My parents had both attended, obtaining degrees in education, as had a majority of my extended family. To attend college was less of an “if”, and far more of a “when”. However, I personally knew that I would attend college as I began to discover my academic interests, and the impact that I could have on a group of my peers. From success in areas such as English and History, to my engagement in a variety of musical and theatrical extracurriculars, college seemed the perfect opportunity to further explore each of these passions and interests, while allowing myself to be embraced and supported by a community of similar-minded young people.

Q: Do you know what you want to major in/what career path you want to pursue?

A: I plan to major in acting, obtaining a Bachelor in Fine Arts, in order to pursue a career in live and musical theatre. Since I was young, I had an overwhelming passion for the performing arts, and, after much deliberation as to the stability of the career, my family and I decided that to follow the dream at the collegiate level was far smarter than to wake up to a future of regrets, motivated by treading the safest path.

Q: What are your thoughts on what college will be like?

A: I think college will be an enlightening experience, as I discover more about the surrounding world and my own character, by focusing on my nuanced interests and passions. Furthermore, I feel that college will be important in encouraging further freedom and independence as an individual, as I forge bonds and seek opportunities of my own accord, in order to highlight the brightest future for myself.

Q: Do you feel prepared for college?

A: Absolutely. I have an incredible support system at home and in my community/school, and have been privileged enough to meet a variety of peers, mentors, and educators during my time in school, who have gifted me with the knowledge to succeed.

Q: What opportunities do you think you will gain from going to college?

A: I think that I will gain the tangible opportunity to become involved in a steady career in the arts, leaving a discernible mark on the community. On a less physics level, I think I will gain the opportunity to learn more about myself, and tailor my life to that.

Alexis

Q: Are you going to college after you graduate high school?

A: Yes. I will be attending Daemen College in their Nursing program.

Q: What made you decide to go to college after you graduate?

A: College sort of just seems like a right of passage and I know that if I want to be a nurse or anything along those lines I need a good degree that only college can give me.

Q: Do you know what you want to major in/what career path you want to pursue?

A: I love caring for people and I especially want to specialize in pediatrics because I love children. a hospital setting seems like the right place for me.

Q: What are your thoughts on what college will be like?

A: I’m hopeful that college will be a fun, free place where I can really find myself and friends. I know it will be tough though, especially with my major. I will need to study a lot and have my priorities while knowing how to time manage.

Q: Do you feel prepared for college?

A: Yes. My high school has prepared me a good amount for college as have my basic life skills learned from my parents and myself.

Q: What opportunities do you think you will gain from going to college?

A: I think I will gain insight on my career but also on research, working with others, time management, being involved etc

Ben

Q: Are you going to college after you graduate high school?

A: Yes.

Q: What made you decide to go to college after you graduate?

A: I want to further my education to get a high paying job.

Q: Do you know what you want to major in/what career path you want to pursue?

A: I’m going to major in history in order to become a history teacher.

Q: What are your thoughts on what college will be like?

A: I’m looking forward to the independence and freedom that will come with it, but I am concerned about the amount of work I will have.

Q: Do you feel prepared for college?

A: Yes.

Q: What opportunities do you think you will gain from going to college?

A: College will allow me to get a good job, and will show me a wider view of the world and other cultures.

Sarah

Q: Are you going to college after you graduate high school?

A: Yes, I will be attending Cornell University in the fall.

Q: What made you decide to go to college after you graduate?

A: Throughout my schooling, it was somewhat expected that I would go on to college because most of the people around me did or were planning to, especially those who had good grades. Although college was not the only option presented to me, it was the most common route and the college experience as a whole was appealing to me. I enjoy learning for the most part and I knew that I wanted a job that would require a college education.

Q: Do you know what you want to major in/what career path you want to pursue?

A: One of the expectations that came with me going to college was that I would have a clear direction (not entering undecided), even if this might change in the future. I intend to major in Nutritional Sciences. Many career paths within this field are appealing to me including sports nutrition, private practice, and global health, so I am not sure exactly what I want to do yet.

Q: What are your thoughts on what college will be like?

A: I think that it will be better than high school in the sense that I am around people that are driven like myself, but also very interesting and unique. I anticipate that I will meet a lot of new people and be presented with tons of opportunities. For this reason, I will probably be quite busy and have less alone time than I currently do in high school. In terms of academics, I anticipate the work to be challenging and time-consuming but not impossible to manage.

Q: Do you feel prepared for college?

A: I feel prepared for the most part, although I know that nobody can be fully prepared for such a big change. I was involved in many activities throughout high school while also taking AP (Advanced Placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate) classes, which taught me how to manage my time. Doing IB especially has made me feel very prepared because of the difficulty and type of work. I have already written several large papers, done research, and taken exams in a “finals week” style setting.

Q: What opportunities do you think you will gain from going to college?

A: Aside from earning a degree, I think that college will present me with so many opportunities and it will be up to me to pick which ones I want to take advantage of. I will meet people that I would not come into contact with elsewhere which will hopefully develop into fruitful connections throughout the rest of my life. I also hope to take advantage of the wide range of classes available to me to learn about whatever topics I desire. Additionally, I want to do research and a few internships, which I feel are much easier to attain as a college student.

Each student answered the questions differently and each had a different degree they wanted to major in. They all had their own personal reasons and thoughts about college. But, they all had things in common. One big thing that each student had in common was the fact that they were going to college. College is an important part of getting future opportunities in the working world and will give people an advantage over people who do not go to college. Another thing the students all had in common was the fact that they recognized the opportunities that college will bring them. Better jobs, steady careers, etc. They all felt prepared for the next stage in their life.

I would like to thank each of the participants of this Q&A interview for their time and contribution to this blog.

#highschoolstudents #highschoolseniors #collegebound

© 2015-2020 by  Karen Sharp-Price

Williamsville, NY 14221

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