It’s that time of the year again — every student’s favorite time: back to school!

This year, I am finally a senior and will be moving on from high school and graduation. While I am extremely excited to finally graduate, there is also the sense of stress and apprehension that brings.

In the middle of July, my mom told me that I should start thinking about what I want to do for the year after graduation. Did I want to go on a church mission or go to college? Pre-registration for colleges ends in January, so I had to start figuring out what I wanted to do, and fast.

My brother is going to Utah State University in Logan for college, and my parents suggested I go visit there too, to see if I wanted to go to college. I really liked the experience, and the place felt like I had lived there my whole life.

My plan for right now includes going to college and getting an English degree, but I haven’t figured anything out from there.

Small goals add up

Now that I’m a senior, teachers are really getting on us about the rest of our lives. A plan for the future, while still vague, is still a plan. I know that I want an English degree, but I’m still split on what I want to do from there. Which is OK. As long as I have goals and determination, things will turn out just fine.

Last year when I was a junior, one of my financial literacy teachers made us make a list of 10 goals we wanted to accomplish before the school year was finished. Mine were mostly school related, like getting a good test score for the ACT and passing my AP Language test.

Having these goals to look back on has been really helpful, because it helped me refocus my life and my priorities.

Having a plan also brings a sense of security to your life. You have something to fall back on; you have a blueprint that will show you where to go. Plans can change, and they do. But still having one in place is the thought that counts.

Goals are a bit more flexible, and they still hold you to that commitment that you should do your best to follow. Wherever you are right now, whether you’re planning or just making little goals, every step helps.

I know a lot of seniors who plan on taking a year off after high school to go on vacation or just have more time to figure out what they want to do with their lives. I’m not saying this is bad, but it’s not always effective. It’s better to get a jump-start on your education or the rest of your life as soon as possible to avoid problems that may come up.

There are also some seniors taking a year off to work and earn money, and I think that’s reasonable. But for the students who just want an extra year, I think they’re being a little lazy. We’ve had 18 years to test out our hobbies and interests, and whether we like it or not, no one can tell us what we want to do anymore.

Know what you want

I like to watch the show “Parks and Recreation.” It’s really funny and lighthearted, but sometimes the show deals with the annoying people in life and talks about how you’re supposed to go through those types of things.

A character named Ron Swanson says the following: “Blueprints for the future are a fool’s errand. They’re like blueprints for a house. Nice to have, but any foreman with half a brain doesn’t need to look at them. One day this year, or maybe the next, you’re gonna be somewhere else, so enjoy yourself now.”

Plans for the future aren’t the exact same thing as goals. Goals are things you want to do, and plans are what you are going to do.

Maybe some seniors aren’t at the planning stage for their futures yet, and that’s OK. The best way to start is by making a goal. It can be as small as passing every math test or looking up information on colleges.

No matter what happens in the next year, no matter where any of us end up, we should always remember to live each day as much as we can — and to take even small steps toward our future.

Taylor Jenkins is a senior at Weber High School and loves to write. If you have questions or want to chat, email her at jenkinsta2@wsdstudent.net.

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