Some Advice on After High School


Brianna OCallaghan, Reporter

Many College Park students are thinking about what happens next: Sophomores worrying about the “most important year of high school,” Juniors thinking about college, and Seniors deciding on their future. Everyone’s path is different than the classmate next to them or the teacher in front of them. Coming from those who have done it all before, here is some advice on the steps we take after graduation from our own teachers. 

What is one thing you can say to students who are unsure about their future?


“Try something you are interested in. Get a job or volunteer in a field that interests you. You do not have to go straight to college. Before you spend money on a degree that you decide later is not for you, spend time in the work world to find what a particular field is really like.” – English teacher, Jennifer Knox

“Do something, anything, to get you off your butt and out the door. If it’s college, go to college. If it’s a job, go to that job and learn all you can about that job. The more you experience the more you learn. If you are fat and lazy, all you’ll get is more fat and lazy. To paraphrase Dr. Seuss, ‘The more you learn, the more you know. The more you know, the further you’ll go.’ – Creative Writing teacher, Kenneth Cole

“You have a few years to go before you have to get serious but choose a career path that gives you options. Engineering degrees for example opens a lot of doors. Liberal arts degrees on the other hand, much fewer doors, and unskilled opens no doors.” – Robotics teacher, Shawn Jordan 

“I don’t know why you need to be. With life, business (and especially technology) changing so rapidly, there is a good chance that your first real job hasn’t been invented yet. Be willing to look at opportunities that you might not have thought about.” – Career and Audio Teacher, Jeffrey Badmington

For right now, focus on your passions and things you love to do. One day, it will click. Your strengths are being developed now and those will help guide you to a future you will love.” – English teacher, Janell Allred

Where did you go after high school? Did your path change?


I started college at a state school in my hometown. I lived at home the first year. I moved on campus my second year. I paid for everything with my savings, scholarships, and grants. When I ran out of money, I went to work as a live-in nanny in another state. After a few years of working, I transferred to a university close to my job, attending classes part time. It took me longer to graduate than most of my friends, but I had no student loan debt when I graduated.” – Knox

“I went away to college, and yes, the path has changed several times. I started out as an education major, got sidetracked into advertising for a long time, was a fly-fishing guide to quite a while, then made it back to teaching in 2009.” – Cole 

“Texas A&M and yes, it changed a lot. It changed at A&M by changing degrees. It has changed with each new job. Three different companies before getting into teaching and three different schools in six years.”  – Jordan

“I planned on going to college, and I did, majoring in history and getting my teaching certification. However, my first real job took me into the computer industry, where I stayed for twenty years. Advice: Listen to people you trust. You don’t have to do what they say, but you should at least listen.” – Badmington

After high school, I attended a community college for two years. I made sure to have the best grades possible and then transferred to Texas A&M with a scholarship. There I completed my bachelor’s and master’s degree. Those two years at the community college really helped me solidify where I wanted to go to school, what I wanted to do, and saved a ton of money.” – Allred

What is some advice you can offer on adulthood and the steps we take after graduating?


“Unpopular opinion: Do not take out loans to fund your education or lifestyle after you graduate from college. I know so many older adults who feel stuck in a job they hate because they spend large chunks of their paycheck paying down student loans and credit card bills. You should work while you attend college; that’s part of your life education. Do not go out and get a loan for a new car as a reward for graduating or landing your first job. You will be in a great position to buy a home if you do not owe on car loans and student loans.” – Knox

A. The only way you can break your future is by not having one. Make good choices and it will all work out in the end. Another ripped off line; ‘If it hasn’t worked out, it’s not the end.’ B. Find a job that excites you to get up and do every morning. I made a boatload of dough in advertising, but some mornings I hated it and the things I had to do for people I didn’t respect. Now I teach, and I’m excited to walk into the school every morning.” – Cole

“Stay in school/college. Seriously though, start saving and investing money now. Literally now. When you start getting paid, save 15-20% of your check and invest it. Forget about a new car, a fancy apartment, a new phone, forget about all that. It’s short lived and ultimately worthless junk. Invest heavily so by the time you are in your 40’s to 50’s you can do and buy whatever you want or retire and not have to work.  I heard this same advice when I was your age and didn’t listen. Biggest regret of my life.” – Jordan

“We all become ‘adults’ at different rates/times. You don’t have to stop having fun, but you do need to get serious about doing something to support yourself. The two are not mutually exclusive, they just require you to prioritize.” – Badmington

As soon as you enroll in college, join all the clubs you can handle. Not only will you make friends and have a lot of fun, you make connections. Your senior year of college, you will need to start going on interviews and creating a path for your after-college life. Those connections you made in the clubs might be your saving grace if jobs are not falling from the sky.” – Allred