Your high school years are the best years of your life
so we are lead to believe. These three years are hyped up so
much that many of today's youth dread leaving high school. For
some, leaving school is a joy, a highly-anticipated occasion,
while those that find solace behind those walls feel that their
lives are over when they leave. It is as if they have lost something
they can depend on.
Leaving high school also leaves many teenagers with decisions
to make that will affect the rest of their lives. The main decision
facing today's youth is what they are going to do to further
their education. Astonishingly, many people decide to not go
further than a high school diploma. As of 1996, the average Canadian
received only 12.3 years of schooling. That doesn't even give
you a high school diploma.
In today's world, there are many options for young people:
university, college, trades school, the armed forces and working
are just a few of today's options. Although choosing what to
do is a big step, it shouldn't be feared.
In a recent survey, 74% of males and 75% of females in high
school were planning on pursuing an education from university
after they finish high school. This is not a surprise - since
1976 the number of young people attending university has gone
up 7 per cent.
For many young people, choosing university seemed like the
only option. As Aidan Moores, a student at Memorial University
said in a recent interview, "I wanted to further my education
and expand my job opportunity frontiers."
Another student from Memorial, Lorraine Garland, said, "I've
wanted to go to university my whole life. It was the only decision
Leaving a controlled learning environment and entering university
can be a big step. There are many new things to get adjusted
to a dorm and roommate, the lack of finances you have (your allowance
won't stretch this far anymore), and the new methods of teaching.
However Stacey Noseworthy, a Memorial student as well, was
quick to point out, "I feel that the biggest change would
have to be that you are responsible for yourself and no one else
is going to be responsible for you. You have to wake up, smell
the coffee and get control of your own life."
University is a time to blaze your own trails, change and
take off in new directions. You get the privilege to learn about
the world around you, your country and yourself.
"As for learning outside the classroom is concerned,
it is crucial to university - you only get out of university
what you put in, and it is a very independent learning environment,"
said Ian Foster, a first-year student at Memorial.
Garland felt the same way: "There is more to learning
at university than the topics covered in classes. The real learning
is in the everyday experiences."
Aidan Moores summed up learning in a great way, "It is
a never ending experience."
The main point I am trying to get across is that leaving school
should not be feared but embraced. Choosing a career should be
exciting, not back breaking.
It is natural to be anxious, as Stacey Noseworthy said when
she was asked it she was scared.
"Yes and no. Yes, in that it was going to be a big change
and no, because it was going to be a big change. I mean it is
really scary knowing that how you do in university is going to
affect the rest of your life."
On the flip side she said, "Then again it is also very
exciting knowing that you are in control of the direction that
your life is going in."
The main point is university is a time to get to know yourself.
Sure it's not the right choice for everyone, but it can be an
enlightening experience for those who chose to embrace it.