I wish I knew then…

You hear your named called and get that butterfly feeling in your stomach as you walk up the steps and across the stage to receive your diploma. All of a sudden, you are headed towards your next step in life and you realize that the plans you made for yourself are ready for you to take. The question then becomes if you are ready to take them.

Some have had their plans set since the ninth grade year while others haven’t given the future much thought. For seniors, graduation is creeping up and a lot of us, myself included are wondering if we’re ready for college, moving out and facing the real world alone. Bryan High graduate Abel Lara has experienced a lot since she graduated last year and is now in Cosmetology school, but she remembers what she wanted when she was still in high school with us just last year.

“[I wanted] to go to hair school and graduate from there to become a hairstylist,” Lara said. “Then work at a salon and try to start my own.”

When Lara was in school, she had her goals and knew what she needed to do to achieve them.

“[My main goal was] just to graduate really,” Lara said. “I was having a hard time with math and I didn’t think I would graduate with trying to pass three math classes at once.”

Of course, her academic obstacles didn’t frighten her nearly as much as leaving her dad’s house.

“I moved out shortly after graduating and I was scared because now it was my job to help pay bills, buy groceries, and knowing my dad wasn’t going to take care of me anymore,” Lara said. “That was pretty scary for me since I’m a huge daddy’s girl.”

Lara said she was afraid to face everything alone, but after some time, she now feels everything has fallen into place.

“I was nervous to go into hair school and it really wasn’t too bad,” Lara said. “I have six to seven months until I am done. I am living with my boyfriend and godson’s family in a nice big hippie house.”

Though she misses seeing her friends and teachers like Mrs. Dominy everyday, Lara was excited for one thing about being out of high school.

“Sleep!” Lara said “I was so happy I got to sleep [because] second semester I barely got any sleep. That, and just starting life! When you’re in high school, it’s kind of like its own universe, but when you’re done with that, everything changes.”

Lara says there is a big difference between high school and the real world.

“In high school, you can make mistakes and your teachers or parents are there to help you,” Lara said. “In the real world, you’re an adult and whatever mistakes you make, you’re on your own. You have to grow a backbone against society.”

Lara began with a desire to start her own salon, but like a lot of high school graduates, her plans change slightly.

“I no longer want to own a salon; I want to start a family in about five years,” Lara said.

Lara realizes the real world is a lot more cruel than that of high school. Still, she has confidence in what the future has in store.

“I control my life now as long as I don’t conform into the complete norm of society.” Lara said.

Out of everything that came out of graduating high school, Lara only wishes she could do one thing differently.

“I would try to do better in biology,” Lara said. “You’d be surprised how much chemistry and biology are in hair school. I barely passed my test.”

Planning for the future, filling out college applications, looking for an apartment, thinking about all the obstacles ahead – That’s the easy part. To the seniors or anyone eager to start their future, you’re going to get there sooner or later. Enjoy the time you have now because you won’t get it back.

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