About to embark in uncharted territory | TahoeDailyTribune.com

About to embark in uncharted territory

Shelly Zaskoda, a senior at Whittell High School

Seniors, the end is near! No matter where in the nation you live or go to school or what gender and race you are, the many years of compulsory academic preparation are almost a done deal.

Approximately 18 years of parental supervision, guidance and love are also deeply ingrained in your hearts and minds. So, what are you going to do with all of this?

My words may seem presumptuous because they are also directed to seniors I’ve never met; however, I do this because of the unique bond we inherently share. For instance, the majority of us were born somewhere between 1983 and 1985 — since then a similar type of education has filled our early years; we have all lived through the era of the dot.com explosion — and its fast decline; the first Persian Gulf war probably didn’t significantly faze us (because of our ages) — but the recent war in Iraq has certainly impacted our lives and studies; and, we were all students during the 9-11 terrorist attacks — a dark event in history which will be written in books just like Pearl Harbor was for the teenagers in the 1940s.

You might ask: What difference does any of this make? Well, none really, except that together we all end one chapter in our lives and together we will turn the page into the next to face the same uncertain world that has been laid out before us. How will we handle this?

The big talk in school during the past several weeks has been: what college(s) accepted you? rejected you? are you going to college? why ? or why not, etc.?

This difficult time for teenagers regarding their future is not always simple because different aspirations and personal circumstances have a great deal to do with making their decisions. Some college-bound seniors can go wherever they were accepted, while others must consider costs, distance and opportunities.

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Some seniors choose to put education on hold because they feel that joining the work force is what they must do. Another’s decision to study a trade may be the right choice.

The point is, though, that 2003 is the year when reality kicks in for all seniors — we all must make a decision about our future.

I have been asked many times why I didn’t pick my first choice college. The answer was not that I didn’t get accepted; I desired it but it was too expensive. This was my first really hard encounter with one of life’s financial realities and, certainly, disappointing for me. But, in many ways, it strengthened my resolve to get where I want to get one way or another. I decided that my college years will be great because it doesn’t matter where I am; it’s what I do with my education and the choices I make that really count in the end.

Seniors, let not this end mean … finished … no more … all done…. Instead, think about how you feel at the end of a good movie, a good book, even a good meal. There is satisfaction when it is over but still a yearning for more — the sequel. Therefore, when graduation day finally arrives, remember that it is truly the commencement of your new life.

Shelly Zaskoda is a senior at Whittell High School.

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