What’s next after high school?

Trinity Orosco, Reporter

“What’s Next?” is the infamous question high schoolers dread to hear. For some, it’s responded with a shrug and others a detailed plan, but either way, it brings us one step closer to growing up.

For sophomore Natalia Flores, the question of  “What’s Next?” was always followed with the same answer: a teacher.

“Honestly I’ve probably known since like first grade, I’ve always wanted to be a teacher,” Flores said. 

Flores said she believes the teachers she’s had inspired her to want to do what they do.

“I love the idea of building a strong educational foundation for children and I really want to be an inspirational teacher for others, like some of the teachers I’ve had,” Flores said.

Flores said she knows this will take hard work and dedication, that she’s willing to put in, so not going to college was never an option for her.

“I do want to go to college although I’m not really sure where yet, but college has always been a huge goal of mine I want to accomplish,” Flores said.

Of course, Flores could change her mind, but that’s why she has a backup plan as well.

“I think there’s always a chance of it changing, but I’ve always been pretty set in stone with this plan,” Flores said. “I’ve also thought about becoming a psychologist if the teacher plan doesn’t play out.”

Although Flores may already know what she wants to do, that doesn’t mean she does not have advice for those who don’t.

“I think researching different jobs and asking adults what they do is a great way to come across new occupations that might interest you, but you don’t need to have your whole life planned out,” Flores said. “It is totally okay to not know what you want to do because life is always bound to change.”

There are many high schoolers who don’t know, like sophomore Ellie Davidson, who needs some help from her peers.

“I think as my friends and family members in the grades above me start to make decisions on their future, and I hear of their experiences and ideas, I will get a better understanding of what I would enjoy in the workforce and what I wouldn’t,” Davidson said.

Although Davidson might not know what she wants to do quite yet, she’s not worried. She even has some ideas of colleges like The University of Michigan, The University of Edinburgh, UT, and Oregon State. 

“I’m not super nervous,” Davidson said. “I have time and some ideas of what I don’t want, so I can eliminate those and further my decision from there.”

Davidson said she believes society asks students what they want to do too late in life, she thinks the earlier students know the more prepared they can be.   

“I think society should start asking and seeing what children are interested in as soon as they enter middle school, and start becoming self-dependent with their work and ideas,” Davidson said. “College is a huge step in life and I believe children should be very prepared for what’s ahead because there are no do-overs in life.”

Like Davidson said, there are no do-overs in life, this is why our counselors are here to help us, to make sure we don’t even want a do-over. Counselor Karen Peters has just the tool to help students figure out their future.

“There’s a new platform called Xello that replaced Career Cruising, and it helps kids figure out what they want to do after high school,” Peters said. “Xello is so much better than Career Cruising by far. Not only does it tell you what job would fit your personality, but it tells you how much you would make with it, and how to go about getting that job.”

Xello isn’t the only thing that can help prepare for life after graduation. Just meeting with a counselor and letting them get to know you can also help them guide you in what career options you should think about.

“Xello does a great job leading students to new careers, but really just getting to know the kid and learning what they enjoy, I can lead them in a direction that they might not even know existed,” Peters said.

Peters said she believes too many students think they can go through high school without talking to a counselor, in an attempt to try to do it themselves, but it’s hard to figure out what you want to do if you don’t know where to start.   

“AISD has so many resources that many kids don’t know about, so if you even think you have an inkling as to what you want to do, talk to your counselors so you don’t waste time on classes you don’t need to take,” Peters said.