Remarkable Post-High School Plans Don’t Immediately Include College


With less than 100 days until graduation, Williston seniors are preparing for the future, but despite most people’s plans involving college, not everyone is heading in that direction.

However, jumping right into college next fall is not the best plan for everyone. A select few of our graduating class have different plans for next year.

Sophie Gontow Calderon, a senior from Brazil, is taking some time off to “experience and learn” before jumping into college. She said, “it’s not that I don’t want to go to college, I just don’t want to right now.”

Sophie is partaking in an extremely unique experience for the two years following high school. “I’m planning to go move Israel and join the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) with a friend,” she said. “Israel is the place where I feel happiest, and I want to help protect the country I love.”

“I want the experience of the army and to learn more about living in the real world, discipline, service, etc,” she said. Sophie also wishes to gain more cultural perspective. “I just miss the land and the culture, and I want to make new friends who complement my worldviews.”

Looking into her future, Sophie predicts she will return to school and has, so far, really enjoyed education. She said, “as bad as senioritis is hitting right now, I have always loved school & learning and ‘guided’ stuff like that, so I definitely think it will be an adjustment.”

However, Sophie is ready for a change of pace. “I feel like school is all that people our age have ever done and so it’s kind of how we learn, but I’m sure I’ll learn more in Israel/in the army than I ever will in school,” she said.

“I just want to do my own thing, and be in control of my life,” she explained. “Going to Israel is entirely my choice, it’s an adjustment I want to make, so I think that makes it all the more special considering we’ve gone through so much change recently that has been completely out of our control.”

As a college-preparatory school, majority of senior and post-graduate students attend college in some form after graduation day. According to Williston, students last year accumulated 504 admission offers from colleges, 128 of which were early decision or early action offers.

However, some students are using the time after high school to focus strictly on athletics. Williston students are extremely engaged in their respective sports, and some wish to become more serious in their athletic careers following high school.

Brandon Barrett, a senior from Florida, is playing a year or two of intensive Juniors hockey before going to college. He explained, “it’s a league most players go to out of high school where you can develop your game and body while you prepare for college hockey.”

Brandon has been planning to take this route since he was a kid, hoping to earn a college scholarship for the future. “I want to use my sport to afford myself the best opportunities in the future, namely a great college education,” he said.

“Many educators say that students who take time off after high school… often end up more mature than when they left,” according to The Public School Review. While college is a reliable option, a few seniors are looking for different experiences come fall.

While it will be a new experience, Brandon is optimistic about his decision. “I’m excited about all of this,” he said. “I’ll get to further pursue my hockey career and play somewhere new. I’m expecting it to be a great experience.”

“I hope I can really develop my game and develop as a person as I gain new experiences and knowledge,” he added.

Brandon has no regrets on not pursuing college right away. “Everything has its pros and cons,” he said. “I’ll miss some aspects of school, but I’ll be focusing on my day-to-day, not speculating on what school would be like.”

Similarly to Brandon, Matthew, a senior from Bermuda, is focusing on his athletic career after high school. “I will be going to Spain after I graduate and will be playing soccer for Alicante City FC for a full year,” he said. “If all goes well, I could end up staying there.”

In regards to his future, Matthew does have plans to eventually get a degree. He said, “I’m looking to study psychology when I go to college. If my first year in Spain goes well, I could have the chance to play soccer while studying in Barcelona.”

Further, Matthew has an established admiration for Spain; he’s had two previous experiences playing soccer there, and is excited for this new opportunity. “I love the country and Barcelona is my favorite city in the world. Having the opportunity to play soccer in Spain for a full year and maybe more is something I never thought I’d be able to do, so I’m looking to make the most of it,” he said.

While he does admit he will miss the social aspects of school, he is looking forward to all the new learning he will do in a new country. “Taking a year to focus solely on soccer in such a culturally rich country like Spain is going to give me experiences that I have not yet had the chance to come across,” he said.

More than anything, Matthew is eager to start this new chapter in his life. “I was nervous at first because it’s a big jump from Williston but now I can’t wait,” he said. “There’s also the chance that I could play professionally, which really excites me.”