Preparing for the Future


Written by Maria Putnam |

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think college? Maybe a new start, the beginning of your dream career, meeting new people, an escape from home, or of course, the intense amount of partying ? College is a different experience for everyone. As a junior in high school thinking about the possibility of college in one year, my one question is, where do I start?
In only two months, I will officially be a senior- only one more year of high school before I am off to “the real world”. All parents talk about college, the choices, and the importance of making the right choices as soon as you are out of high school. In my opinion, these are mostly scare-tactics. Once you get out of high school, you should be able to explore anything that interests you, whether it is college or something else. That also means that you should explore all your options though, so checking out colleges would not be a waste of time even if you are not sure college is for you. If you are absolutely positive you want to go away to college, then that is probably first on your list. In my case, I thought I needed to go to college. I wanted the college experience, the partying, being away from home, meeting new people, but circumstances changed.
Both my parents were writers in high school, and luckily, I got that creative gene. My Dad actually wrote for the New Haven Register as a senior for the sports section, and he was my biggest influence as a writer and my desire to pursue a future in journalism. Before my Dad recently passed away, we always talked about which colleges I wanted to go to, what I wanted to do with my writing, and how I was going to achieve the goal of becoming a journalist. Although your parents may be the biggest pain in your life, sometimes they have the biggest impact on your future. Talking to them about what you would like to do after college is a smart idea. To get the best results, you have to take advantage of the people around you that can help.
Where do you start? Most students have the mindset that they need to have one subject that they want to pursue in college. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! The truth is, even as a senior, most students have no clue what they want their major to be in college. Explore all your options consider your grades, the amount of effort you are willing to put in, and your financial situation. Recently looking at colleges online, I realized there are plenty of websites that can help me narrow my search down to specific colleges that best suit me, simply by plugging in all my preferences.  On the College Board website I could even narrow my search down to the housing situation I want and the size of the college.
After you choose some colleges you are interested in, visit them. Talk to a parent or maybe even a friend who is also going to look at colleges to set up times when you can go check out the schools. If you do have an idea of what you want to go to college for, make sure to also check out programs at the school. After all that, start applying. Apply to multiple colleges to keep your options open, just in case you do not get accepted into the college you were banking on. Deciding which colleges to apply to or whether to go to college or not is not that difficult. There is help available on the web,  from guidance counselors and teachers. College should be something students can look forward to, not stress over. Think: new beginnings and even choosing your own schedule, instead of having one assigned.  Keep in mind, no matter where you go, you’re going to enjoy it.