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Reflections: Choosing Your Future

I’m writing this in during a study session for macroeconomics, but just like future inflation rates, if there’s something I can never stop thinking of, it’s the future. I always imagine what the future will be like and what future adventures I’d go on, as it’s pretty mundane in South Dakota. I sit in pure silence or walk around, imagining and writing stories in my head about the future. I wonder: will the future I imagine ever even occur? Do I enjoy the thought of that future instead of its practicality?

We probably all have these same thoughts, and there’s plenty that the future has in store for all of us. Our future is ours to decide, with the most immediate and common options being college, military, and post-grad. College is where I am, and most people, I imagine, are headed. An education beyond high school for most majors is the ticket to a prosperous future, as financial security is usually the best form of security. Whether it's a traditional four-year college, a tech school, or a community college, most of us are likely heading to some college experience.

I’m headed to Northeastern University, first at the Oakland campus, then to the Boston campus for three years. I’m mostly looking forward to the adventures that come with college, as it’ll be nice to escape the rural life in South Dakota and travel to see two unique parts of the world. Although this is still so up in air mid-January, in a few short months I may be living on a different coast. Oakland is one of the most dangerous cities in America, so different from my home state and town, it will take a lot of getting used to. Boston is far more exciting to me, as I love seafood, history, and the cold. And I may not even go to Northeastern in the end, depending on financial aid and scholarships I can line up. How do I consider taking on almost $100,000 in debt at 18 years old? Besides the vast adventures of exploring new cities, academics are also a wonder to look forward to, learning from esteemed and revered professors and having a peer group from varied experiences and backgrounds.

College is a great time to step out of your comfort zone and explore, so I hope that everyone sets goals for their time at college. My short list of goals currently includes:

  • Explore the bay area Explore the Northeastern United States

  • Join a decent amount of interesting clubs, such as academic, cultural, and intramural sports

  • Graduate with a magna or summa cum laude

  • Expand my knowledge of Chinese, Spanish, history, economics, philosophy, psychology, law, anthropology, and business.

  • Finish my book ideas and poetry

The military is another great post-grad option I've been considering. I’m thinking of applying for a three-year ROTC scholarship, as I didn’t apply in time for the four-year, and my grades are, regrettably, less than ideal in some areas. The military is a great option to pay for college with the GI Bill. The military also provides an opportunity for amazing adventures, depending on what branch you decide to go into. It would be a great honor to serve our country.

A variety of other postgraduate opportunities exist as well. If you’re truly undecided, why not take a leap year and go to work? This will allow you to gain some experience, save money, and decide what you’d like to do for the foreseeable future. Training and certificate programs, online boot camps, and apprenticeships can be great ways to secure a job, learn a trade, and get to making good money right away.

Whatever the future has in store for us, we must all decide for ourselves. I encourage you all to keep all opportunities open. Take part in as much as you can now, apply for all of the scholarships and grants, volunteer and apply for a PVSA award. You never know what doors will open for you, and SADD can definitely be a conduit to help get you there!


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