BY KAINE ENE
Enrollment season is different for different people. There are freshmen who know they want to go into cooking, there are freshmen who only enter culinary class because it’s fun, there are juniors who still don’t know what they want to do; different people need different things, and they figure themselves out at different paces. This means that the period of a few weeks where students are expected to choose their next classes for pathways that can make or break their plans after high school can be daunting, particularly with the way the process is presented.
A few weeks ago, it was presented as interviews with different people representing different academies. “I watched one from Dr. Herl talking about the art and education pathways, specifically teaching,” says freshman Reese Cook. “It’s basically just a bunch of different interviews that people are doing to show people what the pathways are like, so freshmen can get an idea for what they want to do.” Not every fourteen or fifteen year-old knows exactly what they want to do after high school, so they need something to help them work that out. Enrollment week may not be the best for that. “For the pathways, it does help; for what I want to do, not at all,” Cook says. Although it does function as a good means of progress for those who do know what they want to do, as there’s a sense of hands-on experience with elective classes like culinary or wood work. Students get a little high school sip of what their job could be one day. “I feel like that’s really really helpful and it helps students see ‘oh I really do like this’ or ‘I didn’t like this as much as I thought,’ and it helps them not waste money when they have to go to college one day, and they figure it out then,” Cook says. One thing that could be better about how students are encouraged to enroll, particularly the freshmen, is the questioning on the forms for picking out pathways. “On the form for picking out a pathway it says: ‘What is your career plan?’ or ‘What do you want to do when you’re older?’ And I just have to put down ‘I have no idea; I just chose this ‘cause it sounded fun to me.’ I have no clue, and it’s kind of stressful because it feels like you have a bunch of pressure being put on you that you have to know what you want to do, and that’s just not the case,” says Cook.
On the contrary, senior Tristyn Perryman has known what she wants to do after high school, and the advice she has for underclassmen looking to enroll is to not stress out about taking more difficult classes. “I know I struggled with giving my time to all the classes that I took, and I just personally think it’s a struggle to manage all of these hard classes just to boost your GPA and look good,” she says. “You can enjoy your years and it would’ve been so much easier if I would’ve just picked the classes I wanted to take over the classes that I feel like I should’ve taken.” The classes that students take should be what they need, and no harder than that. It’s important that the high school experience we have is a good balance of learning experience and fun. Life is a lot better when you achieve something you actually want to achieve, but if you don’t know what it is you want to achieve as a fourteen-year-old—or even eighteen-year-old—I’d recommend boiling it down to your core values, what you enjoy, and what you can profit from. Though it’s okay for you to take longer to get there than somebody else. “I have a handful of teachers of mine that are really, really nice and supportive and help me through this and say ‘okay, it’s okay to not know what you want to do, and that’s fine,’” says Cook. “And I’m really appreciative of them because that’s definitely put a lot of pressure off of me. And it’s not just my teachers, my parents too, they’re very helpful with this as well.”