Sen19r Season

Mimi Nguyen, Reporter

     Fall season is starting and summer has come to an end. The 2018-2019 school year has begun where students are in their new classes, making new friends, and looking forward to trying new things. For seniors in high school specifically, this is an important part of their last year before graduating. After graduation, students will be starting a new chapter in their lives that is filled with new responsibilities and experiences. For many, the months of September through November may be stressful and overwhelming. Deadlines include turning in senior portraits and baby pictures for Yearbook, scholarship opportunities, make-up service learning, financial aid applications, and most importantly, college applications.

     Choosing what to do after high school is a significant decision students have the freedom and responsibility to make. They can decide to go to college, take a break from school, or work somewhere that allows them to live comfortably. If one is continuing education but not going to college, the pathway of going to trade school or joining the military is also an open option.

     Nonetheless, no matter the pathway students take, there are other aspects of this new chapter that will be similar for everyone. These include paying bills, finding a job, and building social skills. Life skills are significant for one to have in the long run, but most students all across America have commented about how schools aren’t teaching them. A student may have a 4.0 GPA but once graduated and entered into the real-world, they may feel lost and need assistance from their parents or guardians. To put it in short, students are prepared for more school, but aren’t prepared for real life.

     “I don’t feel like high school really prepared me for the adult world, if I’m being completely honest. I don’t think I’m prepared for learning how to get a job, or like maybe writing a resume to get ‘said job’ or how to be smart with money, that’s really important. Those 3 things are the things that I feel like I’m the most unprepared for,” said Muctar Sanneh, a senior who is planning to graduate early after this term. Sanneh has a busy schedule with all four classes that are AP, and with almost no free time to focus on other priorities, this may be difficult to think about college plans.

     Students at River City have the opportunity to take college classes once they are 16 years old. Sanneh has taken classes for college credit since last year in the summer. He plans to continue taking classes at Sacramento City College and transfer after 2 years to a four-year institution.

     Maria Fletes, who is also a senior will be applying to universities to pursue her nursing career. At River City, students who are looking to go into the biomedical field can follow the pathway that courses go along with.

     “I think there are courses to help you for college but it depends on your major or career plan. Right now, I am taking the biomedical pathway to be more informed in medical interventions since I’m pursuing a nursing career,” Fletes shared.

     There are other pathways with relevant classes that guide students and prepare them for their future occupation.  Pathways available at River City include biomedical, culinary, and engineering.

     Fletes added,“I think RC has good courses focusing on the main careers pursued in California like the Bryte culinary and construction and over here more medical engineering and stuff like that. They probably should just work on having the best teachers for the job to teach us correctly, not just any teacher that has to fill in a class.”

     Whether a student participates in pathways or not, teachers on campus are always available to give advice on decisions and completing what is best for the students. Marlaina Spivey has been teaching at River City since 2009. She has taught biology, chemistry, earth science, all of the biomedical classes, and Building Foundations throughout the 10 years being here. Since last year, she created a class called Senior Seminar to act upon the problem for students’ unprepared states and set them forth without feeling stressed about what will happen next after high school.

     “Mostly I noticed it when I was teaching AP Biology, but I had a lot of seniors and some of those kids had amazing GPAs, so they had 4.8’s but they didn’t know anything about taxes or loans. They would stay after everyday trying to figure out college applications so I realized there was an issue. We were serving them well academically but not well as a whole person, so I wanted to make sure that they knew what they were doing,” Spivey explained.

     Senior Seminar includes topics mixed between personal life and academics, such as budgeting, paying bills, exploring career choices, completing college applications, and finding majors to study. Students are often inhabited knowing everything school-related, but don’t realize they are missing concepts they’ll have to deal with alone until after it’s too late.

     “Unfortunately they graduate without knowing a lot of stuff.They might have a good handle on education, but I think that without taking this type of class, for example they don’t know how to pay rent, write a check, open a bank account, or build their credit,” Spivey said. “Students should consider taking this course because they should want a good understanding of how to adult basically. I want them to know how to be successful before they leave and success doesn’t always have to come in Algebra 2 or calculus. It can come through understanding loans and insurance.”

     When students think of college, they usually have the idea of more freedom and fun to be apart of. College years are an unforgettable experience, but there are things still needed to be aware of.  

     “I know what to expect but it’s going to be hard and stressful. It’s college and life on my own, but I’m optimistic towards the future,” Fletes said.

     Although a dreaded topic, it’s still best for students to think of paying tuition for college. Applying for financial aid and getting a job will help with the cost, but another thing not many students know well about is scholarships.

     Applying for scholarships has no cost at all, and starting them soon has benefits. Students can apply even if they are going to community.

     “I feel like it would make paying for college a lot easier because college is really really expensive and probably doesn’t need to be that expensive. But, yeah I feel like just winning them would make paying for college a lot easier and just making the possibility of graduating without a lot of debt or any debt at all seem more feasible,” Sanneh commented.

     Nicole Hardwicke is interested in not only schools in California, but one out of state as well, that being New York University. AMDA, a performing arts college that has locations around the United States is on her list to apply for too. Students have the chance to apply anywhere they want to, and if they put the right mind to it with effort into their studies the process won’t feel tough.

     “I know mentally what I wanna do, but I just have to physically do it and that’s what’s not making me feel easier. It just feels complicated but I feel like I’ll get through it,” Hardwicke assured.

     From three members of the senior class, these are some tips and advice to their classmates and underclassmen.

     Sanneh said,”I’d say, at this point in high school, when you’re about to be a senior, it’s gonna be really easy to compare yourself to other people and if you live your life constantly comparing yourself to other people, you’re going to be incredibly miserable because, the grass is always gonna be greener on the other side. So, instead of trying to compare yourself to other people around you, compare yourself to who you were in the past.”

     Fletes said, “I would just mention and specify how important their junior year classes are because that determines a big part of your GPA for college applications along as involvement in school extracurricular activities it gives you a better chance of receiving scholarships and being a better candidate for college acceptance.”

     Hardwicke said,”Know what you wanna do in life or in the future. Know what you wanna do in a career, get started on senior classes. Try signing up for colleges if you have not, try signing up for scholarships if you have not. Ask your teachers and parents for help. If you’re not busy, I would recommend getting a job to be stable.”

     After seeing perspectives about these seniors and their views, other students in the senior class can relate or create ideas towards what they want to accomplish during their lifetime. Having the correct mindset and motivation to live a fulfilled life start with the people around students and what type of environment they are in. These few months will feel like a short hill that’s hard to get over, but will be worth the small struggles when the outcome is seen. It’s never too early to make decisions now, and especially during high school when there’s older people who can help to the best of their ability, students are set for the world in the right direction to start their future.