Alternative options to the university route

Students choose unconventional post high school paths

Senior+Abby+Larkin+plans+to+continue+her+education+at+Everett+Community+College+gaining+her+fire+science+degree+and+later+pursuing+her+passion+in+a+local+cadet+program+or+at+a+station+in+California.
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Alternative options to the university route

Senior Abby Larkin plans to continue her education at Everett Community College gaining her fire science degree and later pursuing her passion in a local cadet program or at a station in California.

Senior Abby Larkin plans to continue her education at Everett Community College gaining her fire science degree and later pursuing her passion in a local cadet program or at a station in California.

Julian Whitworth

Senior Abby Larkin plans to continue her education at Everett Community College gaining her fire science degree and later pursuing her passion in a local cadet program or at a station in California.

Julian Whitworth

Julian Whitworth

Senior Abby Larkin plans to continue her education at Everett Community College gaining her fire science degree and later pursuing her passion in a local cadet program or at a station in California.

Lila Gill, Staff Reporter

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There’s nothing wrong with attending a large university, in or out of state, and earning a degree the good ol’ fashioned way. But students who go down other paths tend to be ignored and their voices diminished due to a general disapproval from parents, teachers and peers.

Even though a classic post-high school path is the right decision for some people, it’s always good to weigh every option before spending hundreds of thousands of dollars that college can cost.

At school, seniors are considering the decision of what they are going to do next year. Junior Lukas Ramakrishnan is planning in advance. He isn’t set on whether or not he will attend college but he is currently weighing the pros and cons of the non-university path.

“I would want to take a gap year to build more job experience,” Ramakrishnan said. “I think it’s really important to just show that you have knowledge because when you get out of college you’re going to be competing against others who are straight out of college and if you have that extra leg up, it’s always important to give yourself as many advantages as you can.”

 

Creative passions with the professional world

Gap years are often looked down upon because many people see it as young adults wanting an “endless summer.” More often than not, students use it to be productive and improve themselves. According to the Gap Year Association, 85 percent used it to travel and explore other cultures, 51 percent of gap year students used their time to explore study options and 48 percent used it to volunteer.

These are just a few examples of gap year activities. Self improvement through art is yet another great example. Senior Max Complita has been playing bass for four years and plans on going into the music industry professionally.

“[In five years] I’d like to at least have an internship at a place like Sub Pop or a studio around here or be working full time,” Complita said.

The music industry is another controversial topic. Adults tend to disapprove of art-based and creative professions because it can be difficult to find a good paying job within those industries. Even though it may seem like the “best” route in the eyes of parents and employers, working at an office or a normal nine to five job isn’t always the healthiest or most constructive choice. People work and think in different ways and the key to happiness is to accommodate those diversities.

 

Going against the grain

On the other end of the spectrum, senior Abby Larkin has been dreaming of firefighting since she was nine years old and firefighters saved one of her family members who has epilepsy. A female firefighter pulled her away from the scene and comforted her, sparking her interest in the difficult but rewarding job.

“I started doing classes in seventh grade,” Larkin said. “This past summer I got into a training academy called Blaze in North Bend. They picked 29 girls out of the whole state and I got chosen.” Blaze is a firefighting camp specifically for young women 16-19 years old who want to go into the profession.

Larkin plans to go to Everett Community College for two years to get her fire science degree, after that she hopes to be in a local cadet program or stationed in California.

Travel, work, professional development, personal improvement, language and cultural education, volunteering, medical training, or even college, there are a million and one things to do after graduation.

No two people learn, think, or want the same things. That’s why everyone will disperse and get different experiences and learn different things. This is what makes the world a better place, this is what makes the world diverse. If everyone stays along the same educational and professional track forever, nothing new will ever be discovered or achieved.

These students are just a few examples of the infinite opportunities and occupations one can have after high school. Whether it’s working  at a record label or fighting fires in California, the possibilities are truly endless.

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