Seniors explore alternative post-high school plans

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Tony Morse

Senior Tony Morse earns money working at his part-time job at Applebee's. Morse plans on picking up more hours after he finishes high school. "I actually make pretty good money there and if I move up and do full time I could do pretty well," Morse said.

A common question asked of seniors is  ‘what are your plans for college?’ While approximately 54% of the Class of 2019 went on to attend a four-year university, 46% made alternative arrangements. 

Olivia Bradshaw
Information gathered from College and Career center

Three members of the Class of 2020 share their alternative plans.

Gap Year: Tony Morse

Senior Tony Morse plans on taking a gap year after he graduates. 

“The idea of doing 12 years of school and immediately going right to more school is not what I want to do. I feel it would be extra stress and I want that break,” Morse said. “People are expected at the age of 18 to know where they want to go to college and spend all their money. I don’t want to pick something because I have to and end up not wanting to do that because I really don’t know what I want to do.” 

Morse got inspiration to take a gap year from his brother, Echo Morse, who also did not attend college immediately after high school.  

“He never went to college, [and] I was always like ‘why? Everyone goes to college.’ I never knew that was an option,” Morse said. “As I was growing up I was told ‘you go to school, you go to college immediately after school.’ I didn’t even know [a gap year] was an option. [When my brother] explained that to me I was like ‘dude, yeah.”’ 

Despite working full time at Applebee’s and the outlet mall food carts, Morse plans to use the year to figure out his next step.

“I can focus on myself and actually focus on what I want to do,” Morse said. “I’ll have more time for myself and my friends.”

Study Abroad: Tasneem Nasufovic

Courtesy of Tasneem Nasufovic
Senior Tasneem Nasufovic stands outside of a house she visits in Bosnia.

Senior Tasneem Nasufovic plans on going to college right after high school, however, the college she plans on attending is in Bosnia. 

Nasufovic plans on going to the International University of Sarajevo, a private university in Bosnia’s capital city that has courses in English, where she will study international relations. 

“Every summer I travel to Bosnia to visit my grandparents,” Nasufovic said. “I just fell in love with the atmosphere, everything is different there and I just want to experience something new.” 

Nasufovic’s family is originally from Bosnia, but due to conflict there, her parents had to leave and immigrate to America.     

“I want to rebuild my parents’ paths because they have been destroyed from the war that happened,” Nasufovic said. “I want to recover that path they wanted to build in Bosnia.”

The application process is different than American colleges, the admissions process in Bosnia does not begin until April.

“Seniors [here are] all applying for colleges and I’m just sitting, just waiting because I have to wait,” Nasufovic said. “I feel like it’s easier here because you just get it over with, and I’m sitting waiting because I have to wait until April.” 

While in Bosnia, Nasufovic plans on living in her own apartment, but she still has close family living there.

 “I know [studying abroad is] crazy and not that many people do it,” Nasufovic said. “It will be a once in a lifetime experience. I will stress [and] struggle a lot of times. I’ll struggle with adapting to a new lifestyle, but this will definitely open my eyes and allow me to take a new lifestyle experience and learn something from it and be able to pursue my dreams.”

Starting in the Work Field: Cameron Cunningham 

Senior Cameron Cunningham currently attends South Tech, where he studies precision and machining. He plans on working at Boeing after speakers came to South Tech to discuss a post-high school program at Boeing. 

Students in the South Tech Construction program learned about working at Boeing. For 10 weeks new employees go to a class where they learn about assembling the planes. Then they move to assembly at Boeing to manufacture plane parts in mass production. 

“Most of the work done at Boeing is all drilling and ramming holes,” Cunningham said. “That’s what I do at South Tech, but it just feels a little different. [At South Tech] I’ve done like screws and puzzle blocks, just simple things.”

After working for Boeing for a year, the company offers to pay one year of college tuition so students can learn more advanced skills for their work at Boeing. Cunningham plans to attend Ranken Technical College for two years before continuing at Boeing.

“I like [going into the work field] because it’s a different path from going to college for four years,” Cunningham said. “It’s separate from what everyone else is doing.”

The program is made up of mainly 18 to 25-year-olds with pay starting at $19-20 an hour. 

“The trade reports are highly in need of workers, so it’s super easy to get a job as long as you have experience in that area,” Cunningham said. “As long as you stick with the program and stick with what you’re doing, you can work higher up. It’s typically a different path from going to college for four years, but it’s pretty straightforward.”