My Thoughts On Being A (Soon To Be) Senior

Alexander Blaide, Reporter

“We finished construction! You incoming freshman will have a normal school year, so enjoy it, and welcome to Hellgate High!” Those were the words I was told in the fall of 2019 by Principal Judson Miller at the start of my freshman year. A normal year it was not. In March of 2020, COVID came and wrecked everything we all knew. I had just turned 15. Now, two and a half years later, I’m staring down the barrel of my senior year. My senior year. The year that seemed so far into the future as a freshman and now it’s just a few short months away. What now?

I haven’t decided what my plans are. I have no idea if I want to go to college or not and I change my mind almost every other week. Even during the weeks when I think I want to go, I have no idea where I’d want to go. Do I go where my dad went in Oregon, or stay in Montana? Or go elsewhere all together? Both of my parents went to college the fall after high school graduation. My dad got a business degree and my mom got her degree in paralegal studies. My mom has advised me that she doesn’t regret going to college right away, but if given the opportunity again, would maybe hold back just a bit longer. 

So, I could follow her advice and wait. Take a gap year and figure out what I want to be when I grow up. That’s what my friend did. He graduated from Hellgate in 2021 and took a gap year, staying in Missoula and doing all sorts of cool things around town like acting in MCT shows or with new local theater organizations. He plans on attending UM this fall. When I spoke to my friend about his gap year, he told me that his only regret was staying in Missoula for as long as he has.

“If you’re not sure if you want to go to college right away, take the gap year. If you want to go to college, go to college. But if even a part of you isn’t sure right away? Then take the gap year.” That’s what my friend told me about his decision making when he was where I am now. My mom told me “There’s always a ‘when.’ You either go or you don’t.” She also went on to say, “Feeling like you have to go to college RIGHT after high school is the biggest fleecing of American young people.” 

I haven’t decided yet. The only thing I know for sure is that I want out of Missoula after graduation. Maybe not immediately after graduation, but at some point in the future. That’s my plan as of right now, and we’ll see how it’s different this time next year.