Seniors venture down alternative paths

TAYLOR IN TRAINING: With the goal of becoming a Cavalry Scout, senior Taylor Keime will attend basic training for the armed services in Fort Benning, Georgia after high school.  Keime says he hopes that serving in the Armed Services will help him find the direction he wants to go in life.

photo courtesy of Taylor Keime

TAYLOR IN TRAINING: With the goal of becoming a Cavalry Scout, senior Taylor Keime will attend basic training for the armed services in Fort Benning, Georgia after high school. Keime says he hopes that serving in the Armed Services will help him find the direction he wants to go in life.

Although the majority of seniors are heading off to college next year, there is a handful of students going down a different path. In the Oracle Post-Graduation Survey, 13 seniors out of the 507 who took the survey indicated that they have other plans for next year such as seeking employment, taking a gap year, joining the armed forces or other paths. Here is a glimpse at the alternative post graduation plans of some of South’s seniors.

Charlie Koloms

Instead of repping his college of choice on May Day, senior Charlie Koloms sported a shirt with the Indian flag, showcasing his alternative post high school plans. According to Koloms, he plans to spend the fall semester in India visiting temples, hiking the Himalayas and participating in service projects.

“I was growing my hair out for about a year before [May Day], and I got a haircut the day before,” Koloms said. “So, one, I had the giant haircut […] and two, I was just wearing a shirt that said ‘India’ across the front. I was like ‘I’m gonna get some looks today for sure.’ To be honest, I was a little self-conscious walking to school, but as the day progressed, I started to see how excited people were for me […] and how people were almost envying my ambition. It sort of made me realize that I’m not the weird one.”

For Koloms, the key motivation for choosing India as his gap semester location came from his deep interest in Eastern religions.

“I know that India is a really culturally dense area, and I’ve really shown interest in those Eastern religions,” Koloms said. “[…] I just want to be a part of that country’s history and learn more about it.”

Overall, Koloms strongly emphasizes the importance of following your own path. Koloms explains that two quotes he lives by directly relate to the decision of whether or not to take a gap year.

“A few things that I personally live by [are] […] ‘An unexamined life is a life not worth living,’ [by Victor Frankl] or another one that I just thought of is ‘The most interesting people are the people with the most interests,’ [by Ram Dass],” Koloms said. “I think if you’re second guessing yourself about whether you want to do a gap year, just take everyone out of the picture and just look at yourself. That’s the best way you can decide if you want to do a gap year.”

Kenny McMahon

For senior Kenny McMahon, after high school, he will be traveling to Nepal and Madagascar to gain some real world experiences. McMahon says that his desire to take a gap year came about initially from plain laziness, but spawned into a bigger issue of simple not knowing the career path he wanted to take.

“It started out probably with me just really not wanting to apply [to college], and the laziness of not wanting to go on my computer and log into Common App,” McMahon said. “I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with my life, and it’s such a big decision. I came to the decision that taking a gap year would help me decide what I wanted to do later.”

According to McMahon, the first half of his gap year will be spent getting hands on experience in the medical field during his fall semester in Nepal.

“They don’t have the greatest health care system [in Nepal], so something tells me I’ll be able to probably give people stitches, not massive surgeries, but minor stuff,” McMahon said. “I hope to really help other people, because it is a much different situation there than it is here. They don’t have nearly the access to resources that we do.”

On top of that, McMahon says that he wants to get experience teaching through teaching  English to kids in Madagascar. McMahon explains that his interest in teaching spawned from taking child development courses at South and teaching a kindergarten class at OLPH. McMahon believes that hands-on experiences with teaching and medical procedures will help him decide which career path is right for him and also have other benefits.

“I’m just excited to gain a lot of life experience that most kids at Glenbrook South and most kids in the United States will never get to experience in their life, because they are so focused on school,” McMahon said.

McMahon says that he hopes that years down the road he will look back on his gap year as a life enhancing experience.

“Studies show that people are happier after taking a gap year,” McMahon said. “Hopefully that is going to be  me.”

Logan Hampton

Senior Logan Hampton explains that several reasons contributed to him wanting to take a gap year. Hampton says that he wanted an opportunity to gain work experience and gain a better understanding of what he wants to do in the future.

“These past couple of months, I’ve been taking real estate classes with my dad, so [a gap year] opened up an opportunity for me to take classes and get my foot in the door in terms of real estate and getting some real world experience,” Hampton said.

According to Hampton, not only will he be able to gain work experience during his gap year, he also might be able to become a resident of Wisconsin because his parents have a house in Lake Geneva. Hampton explains that if he completes certain steps in order to become a resident of Wisconsin, he will be able to qualify for in-state tuition when he attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“They have a checklist of things I have to do [to become a resident of Wisconsin],” Hampton said. “For example, I’d have to get my drivers license there […].”

Hampton also acknowledges that a gap year provides a great opportunity to travel.

“I am looking at programs in New Zealand because it seems like a really interesting place to travel to,” Hampton said. “I really like the outdoors, and I know [New Zealand] has a lot of programs based on outdoor activities like bungee jumping and skydiving.”

Taylor Keime

With the goal of becoming a Cavalry Scout, senior Taylor Keime explains that on May 24, he started attending basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia. Keime explains that after he completes basic training, he will attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in January. According to Keime, one benefit of joining the military is that it will allow him to go to college for free.

“There’s more than one way to get education paid for,” Keime said. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that the military has just as much to offer education wise as going to school. We’re learning how to do our job […]. What a lot of people don’t realize is that once you’re in the military, you can still go to school. I’m still going to go school.”

Keime explains that his plan to join the army was sparked by his interest in the brotherhood and community that comes along with being a part of the military. Being a part of something larger than himself appeals to him, he says.

“A lot of [why I want to join the military is] […] the camaraderie and the brotherhood […],” Keime said. “I’ve heard a lot of stories from people who have been in the armed forces and they say it’s the best part of their life […]. Who else can deploy to all these different places and have that sense of camaraderie? […] I wanted to do something not only for myself, but for the people around me.”

Overall, Keime says his main piece of advice for   future seniors is to trust their gut feeling and to not let fear keep them from living their dreams.

“The advice I would give is ‘don’t be afraid,’” Keime said. “[…] What you have to learn is that you got to do what your heart tells you […] to do. If your heart tells you to go to school, by all means, go to school. If your heart is telling you to do something else, then be your own person, because ultimately [..], all the people telling you what to do won’t be [living] your life.”