The Game of Life

For most students in high school the pressure to be prepared for life and college is constantly weighing on their shoulders. Facing the future can be difficult, especially when having to make choices at such a young age.

Students have to start building their schedules and selecting classes in eighth grade. Having to start shaping their future so early on in life can cause students to feel pressured to have their goals already decided. For Junior Maya Denny, the insistence to plan ahead made her dread the idea of high school.

“I was so nervous about high school. I didn’t want to be here. It felt like I was going to have to do that for the rest of my high school years. I didn’t really know what I wanted to be or what I wanted to have a career in. I didn’t want to prepare for my future, it seemed like it was way too much pressure for an eighth grader,” said Denny.

Scheduling for the future and selecting classes can be a daunting task. Choosing the right path is often difficult for students, resulting in schedules changing as students themselves grow. Guidance Counselor Ashley Wann often sees the way schedules evolve over time.

“Almost every student changes it [their schedule], at least a little bit or in a dramatic fashion. It’s why we touch base with every student every single year because we get that students change and have experiences that adjust their plans, and that’s perfectly okay to do. It’s really important for students to try to take it one step at a time,” said Wann.

Having to choose what college to go to is a big part of the pressure students face. College can have a big impact on the future, so students feel the need to choose the perfect school. Senior Alexandria Korfe has been struggling to deal with the pressure that’s been placed on her shoulders.

“My family, for me, has really high expectations. Ever since I was a young child they always pushed me to go to some really good college. I am a year younger than everybody so I always have to be this mature or have this and this and this figured out. I have to have a high maturity level for my age, so I think that sucks,” said Korfe.

Being able to explore options for college is a good way to minimize the stress students feel. Events held by colleges and high schools for juniors and seniors planning their future are a useful tool in making decisions. AVID teacher Anthony Sheppard finds that going out and exploring options is beneficial to students.

“Mansfield ISD does a great job here with college nights; there are opportunities in school with career days and community organizations. If you’re interested in a certain career path or college, you should go out and seek those things. Take advantage of the school’s things, but also be proactive,” said Sheppard

Not only is selecting a college difficult, but the cost of going to college is a point of tension for most students as well. Finding scholarships and figuring out loan options adds to the pressure students face. Sophomore Kyrah Durham has already started to feel that pressure.

“I don’t want to go to a place where certain things are more expensive than others. I look for the overall aspect of room and board, food, and what’s around there. I would consider going out of state because in some states Texans get in-state tuition. As a bowler, I also get smart money from tournaments,” said Durham

Having a way to get the money necessary, whether through scholarships or loans, is important. Learning how to manage their expenses is a crucial step in preparing for the future. Business teacher Joko Riyanto believes teaching students about money is key for their success.

“I teach business, budgeting, and savings. We are preparing for what’s coming up after high school, whether students will go to college, or trying to find out how they’re going to pay for college. With inflation things are getting a little bit more challenging. It’s stressful, especially trying to be on your own, so you just have to plan it,” said Riyanto.

Whether it’s choosing a college or deciding a career path, most students have to make tough decisions regarding their future. Making a plan gives students a chance to better understand what they are striving for.