“Stop living through your kids”: Edina’s fear of the gap year

Matthew Smith, staff writer

“Stop living through your kids”: Edina’s fear of the gap year

Summer break is drawing near, and college decision season has come around once again. An anxious feeling of celebration crowds the halls and Instagram pages alike. Seniors are waiting to begin the next chapter of their life with university hoodies to show. Yet, what about the students deciding to not pursue a four-year institution post-grad?

“In school, it’s constantly ‘Study so you can go to college and get into your dream school’ and pursue that and that’s your job- and if you don’t have that, you don’t have a good life,” senior Elise Bowden said. Bowden plans to move to Australia after high school and get a retail job. 

Students like Bowden serve as an example of a forgotten demographic: the students who choose not to go to college. In a storm of decisions and commitments, we forget that college is and never was mandatory. The constant pressure placed on students from both parents and school can cause a feeling of shame for those deciding to pursue something else.

“I think for a lot of people, college is a good option, but for others, it might not be,” senior Brennan Hughes said. “I would say make the decision for yourself. You’re the one that knows you best.” Brennan has been accepted into the United States Air Force Academy and plans on studying Aerospace Engineering. 

A 12-year, K-12 education doesn’t necessarily mean that college comes next. Although schools and parents may want the best for their children, this mounting pressure can be hard to withstand for students.

“Stop living through your kids. Parents want their kids to be rich, have a good job and although that’s nice in our world, you just don’t need that,” Bowden said.

Edina High School and other schools across the country need to reconsider framing college as the only option past high school. The administration is aware of trade jobs, but the advertisement for college counseling drowns out alternate career paths. 

“Even though it might be hard and you might be seen as weird, if it’s better for you, that’s just what you should do,” said Bowden.