The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

    Senior Editorial: Out of High School, Into Real Life

    In the face of uncertainty, we can still find peace in our own journeys
    Kailah Cortez
    The unknown isn’t something to fear, but something to tackle and overcome.

    With high school coming to an end and the real world approaching, it’s natural to feel that the next step will shape the course of the future. Deciding on a path after the security of high school can seem like the first serious decision for many people. 

    While the pressure to determine what students want for the rest of their lives is understandable, it is important to note that the years after high school do not define and limit the future. A single choice made yesterday, today or tomorrow won’t etch our life’s trajectory in stone. We are the narrative to our own stories, and so with enough determination and passion, we will be able to achieve anything. 

     College serves as a starting point for curating passions and a platform for refining character. However, it’s an individual’s inner drive that truly shapes personal triumph. 

    “Success is [self-made]…if you love what you are doing, you will become successful regardless,” senior Mahi Bandekar said. 

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    Qualities such as empathy, resiliency and drive will transpire to future endeavors.

    According to Harvard Business Review, a bachelor’s degree is no longer the gatekeeper to an interview or a promising future. Practical experience and solid assets are equally valuable to defining one’s own character. While pursuing higher education remains common, it’s crucial to keep an open mind when deciding career paths.

    According to Huffpost, attending a top university doesn’t guarantee success. Instead, it marks a new beginning for students to create their own path and redefine their character based on the people, organizations and education they are surrounded with.

    “After [a student] gains experience and becomes a senior in their company, the university that they graduated from does not matter,” Bandekar said.

    Choosing a career path as a 17-year-old can be daunting, especially with familial and societal expectations looming in the background. However, it’s important to maintain flexibility and prioritize personal interests. 

    “Don’t lock yourself into any one major. Your interests can…change within [a few] months,” senior Sophie Nguyen said.

    According to Jaschik, “48 percent of students rank ‘parental influence’ among their top five sources of college decision information.” While parental advice is valued, it may lack awareness of current admissions processes, potentially hindering a student’s journey. Despite parental influence, it’s vital to emphasize individual exploration and decision-making independence in higher education. 

    From an early age, many parent’s educational backgrounds, careers, financial situations and values shape a student’s worldview and educational outlook.  There is nothing wrong with following a path aligned with someone’s values, however it is also important to research and think about one’s education outside of family context, especially as students begin to become more independent. 

    However, despite the uncertainty surrounding life post-high school, people who take risks feel happier. 

    According to, individuals who make at least $75,000 due to passion are unwilling to quit their jobs until after three years or more.

    Journalism advisor Kristina Miller offers valuable advice when it comes to taking risks.

    “Go after what you love because if you follow it, it will lead you to a good place. It might seem…scary in the beginning and there might be a lot of risk involved…You just have to…push through,” Miller said.

    It’s okay to fear the “what-ifs,” but risk-taking helps you grow into a person you want to be. It opens doors to opportunities and builds character.

    “I would rather take the risk than live with the regret and not know what might have happened if I didn’t try,” Miller said.

    Navigating the post-high school transition does not require a meticulously drawn-out career or life plan; it entails embracing ambiguity and taking risks for personal growth. 

    In our life’s journey, encountering setbacks is a given. Yet, it’s our reactions to these obstacles that ultimately determine our triumphs. Our resilience and perseverance are pivotal in propelling us toward achievement. It is also essential to remember that decisions, while significant, are not permanent and nor do they  define or limit us. 

    While some may view decisions as immovable fixtures that restrict us to a tailored journey, it is critical to recognize that they can be changed or revised.  Life is inherently unpredictable, but this unpredictability grants us the freedom to evolve. 

    Together, we possess the ability to shape our individual journeys post-high school, throughout college and beyond.

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    About the Contributor
    Kailah Cortez
    Kailah Cortez, Business Manager/ Photographer
    Whatup Warriors! I’m Kailah Cortez and I’m going to be Business Manager and a photographer for the Golden Arrow this year. I’m looking forward to collaborating with the rest of the Golden Arrow Staff to bring you all amazing stories. I am thrilled to see what this year has for us! Enjoy :P