As junior year ends, excitement & worries about the future

File photo
File photo

As junior year ends, excitement & worries about the future

by Savannah Southerland
Zama American High School soon-to-be 12th grader

I can easily deem my junior year of high school as one of the most hectic times of my life. Many of my peers may be feeling the same pressure as we near our last year and will soon be forced to make decisions about our impending futures. It’s not all bad, thinking ahead to what comes after high school brings a feeling of excitement, but it comes with a slight tinge of fear.

There are many questions that I have that I can’t ask or am afraid to. The fear leads to procrastination in hopes that steps towards the future, like taking the SAT, for instance, will just go away. It is my cognizant mind that reminds me there is no avoiding the inevitable.

Living overseas has its perks, but when it comes to this, I feel that there are some disadvantages my peers living in the U.S. don’t experience. Except for a short trip during winter break, I haven’t been to the states in about five years. I’ve lived in Japan for a majority of my life, which has made the thought of moving back to the U.S. after high school a bit more intimidating. With many outside factors pressuring me to make the right choice, it goes hand in hand with my own internal voice of constraint that carries its own uncertainties. If I do go to college, where will I live? Will I have a roommate? How would I pay for a car? Would I even have a car?

As my senior year nears, I have a lot to think about: Will I go to college? Take a year off? Go to a trade school? The idea of going to college right after high school also comes with the realization (and fear) that I’ll have to become an adult fairly quickly. Another option is one very familiar to me: enlisting in the military. Opposed to the various other aspects of my life, being around the military has been one of the few elements that has remained a constant. And because a majority of my decisions so far are based on what will make me most comfortable rather than what might be considered a better option, joining the military has crossed my mind.

Since I know the time is getting closer, I am getting ready for senior year and beyond by taking precautions that I believe will benefit me in the long run. I have applied for summer hire, which will hopefully give me an opportunity to have more of an experience in the workforce to help better prepare me for the future. I have spoken with military recruiters as well as my school counselor in regards to what choice I will make after I graduate, which has given me some insight and things to consider. I plan to take all standardized tests next year and hope to be ready by the time school is over. The future is still fuzzy, but my parents have reassured me that no matter what decision I make, they will support me in any way they can. Whatever the case may be, I feel comforted in the fact that I will have my family to help and guide me through the tough times.

Despite the anxieties I have about the future, I have high hopes for senior year. I hope that as the months pass and I grow into my new senior status, I will, too, grow into the confidence I will need. My mind will probably change about a dozen more times before I graduate, and even perhaps, again afterwards. But, I trust myself to make the best decision that will benefit me the most, as well as giving me a sense of comfort rather than stress and doubt. I trust that the future bears good things, as well as the opportunity for me grow in whichever choice I make.

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