Checking In With ’22

Olivia Novello & Grace Sorensen , Journalist

From an early age, students are always told that the best way to succeed in life is doing well in high school, going to college, then getting a job. But depending on financials and other situations, there may be a better route. We interviewed three graduates from the class of 2022 that took different paths after high school. Here’s what we found…

The first interview was of Efrem Johanson, who after graduating last year, went straight to work. We asked Efrem how he feels about being at home working, instead of being with his friends at a college.  He stated,  “It’s hard to explain but at the end of the day it’s nice because it gives me motivation to go to work because they are all at school to get a job after college, and I went right into the workforce.” Feeling like he’s a step ahead,  he’s already making his own money without debt. With that being said there is also a downside to being at home while his friends are away. “I don’t really have much to do because all my friends went to college and I don’t have many people here to hangout with, but it makes me work on being alone and adapting to the real world earlier than all of them.” He feels that being home has helped him gain independence and has given him a head start on getting into the real world of adulthood. Our last question was asking what his average day looked like. He described waking up around 4:45am and driving 30-60 minutes to work. Working until 1:50, when they start to clean up the site, then leave and drive home. Upon arriving home he either works out, or tries to find someone in town to hangout with. He stated how he is in bed by 9:30 before repeating the process the next day.

Another graduate, Mackenzie Rokes, chose community college after graduating last spring. “I love being able to live at home still; my classes aren’t anything crazy hard and I enjoy most of them.” She also said that “commuting to school and living at home has given me the opportunity to save so much money and also start jobs that I will be able to get paid and make money and save up for my future.” Prior to going to community college, she was nervous about making friends, but now has many in each class that she is able to talk to, and work on school with. “Once I got past the nerves and began making small talk with people in my classes it became easier and I found a lot of people are in the same situation as me so it was comforting to have them to talk to.” She also enjoys the daily schedule of her classes. She goes to school 3 days a week, and two of the days she has back to back classes, so she is able to stay on campus to get work done. She also stated “ I have a lot of free time during the week but this way I am able to most weeks complete my schoolwork before the weekend and also work and do things that I enjoy through the week.” 

The final post graduate interview was of Riley Turner, who is now a freshman at Stonehill College, a private four year institution. She states that it’s a big adjustment; she is now approaching her second semester and is still trying to figure it out. “It’s difficult to go from your normal routine at home to an entire new routine at a new place with new people. There are plenty of ups and downs but it is all part of the process.” She had no trouble making friends, saying that everyone is excited to meet new people and have new experiences. Even though she misses her hometown friends back in Ipswich, it’s nice to be able to see them when she visits on weekends or holidays. In terms of school, she overloaded her schedule, but everyday is different which keeps things exciting.  “I wake up and go to class. I try to get some caffeine before class. Then after class I usually have work. I work in the mailroom which is pretty easy and I can get some homework done too. Then I get lunch at the commons before I have class again. I will finish up my homework in the library, and then grab dinner. I play volleyball twice a week, which is always the highlight of my day.” 

Hearing from three different graduates who all took different routes after graduation, the question became, how do you know what’s best for you? We interviewed guidance counselor Mrs. May to find out. She said that it really depends on the aid a student qualifies for, and applying for lots of scholarships and aid can help schools become an option. Merit, sports, community service and music are all sources of aid. “Community college is much less expensive if you are looking to go to a 4 year school” but it might not be for everyone. We also asked about her connection to graduates and if they have reached out to her. She explained how if someone wants to transfer post-high school, the student has to go through their high school guidance counselor to do so. A more positive way she receives updates is through younger siblings, or emails from the graduate,  talking about their well-being.

There are many different routes after graduating; there is no requirement to go right to an expensive college or university, despite popular belief. After interviewing 3 graduates, it is clear that you can succeed, and be happy, no matter what route you take.