For as long as I can remember I was college bound. In elementary school I had straight A’s, I loved going to school. My favorite subject was math – ironically my most hated subject now. My parents were so proud when I got accepted to Edison Computech Middle School – a magnet school.

But for the first time I was really challenged and felt myself drop from an extraordinary student to an average student. I stayed in the Edison Computech six-year program and attended Edison High. Now it is my senior year and life after high school is on my mind.

College. Future. Career. Choices. Passion. Expectations.

Since I was a little kid I was 100% sure I would go to college, at least some form of it. Growing up, my parents always said “college is mandatory in this family”. This was probably because neither of them had graduated from a university and they simply wanted what was best for me. Neither of my parents went to college, but they understand the importance and opportunities it brings. They don’t want me to live in poverty.

When I had expressed dreams of going to cosmetology school and becoming a makeup artist, my parents weren’t very supportive. Their expectations of me included going to a four year school and getting a Bachelor’s Degree in something, even if I had no passion to do any of that. That was years ago.

Now I am a senior in high school. This year I have to find a path and take it. I had plans to go to college all my life because I didn’t want to disappoint my parents. Then recently, they changed their outlooks on college. Now I hear things like, “You can do whatever you want after high school as long as you’re happy” and “You could be a cosmetologist if you want”.

This sudden change in opinion confused me. I feel like I can do anything now.

Even though college was the plan for so many years, it isn’t required. Now I have to decide what matters to me and, honestly, it was easier feeling forced to go to college. I use to have everything planned out and now I don’t know what I want to do with my life.

Over the last year and a half I have been a journalist here at The kNOw Youth Media and I have been able to pursue one passion I have: writing.

I love being a journalist and if I major in anything it would be that. I want to enjoy my career be passionate about what I’m doing. I just hope that after experiencing college, I will still love it as much as I do now.

College wouldn’t seem so stressful if I was actually interested in a lot of things. I don’t care for Science, or History, or English and I absolutely despise Math. Since I don’t have many interests I fear it’s all or nothing with journalism going in. If I end up hating it, I have no backup plan.

I have never been interested in most majors offered in colleges. Cosmetology is my only other passion besides writing, but many people thinks it’s a joke.

If I actually went to cosmetology school instead of a traditional college I feel like I’d disappoint everyone. I can’t disappoint. I’m the first to go to college. There are expectations.

Most people tell me plans change, majors change and lives change once you get to college. Everyone tells me that I don’t have to know my major right now, but I can’t help feeling like I should know what I want.

Teenagers shouldn’t be put under so much stress from high school counselors, parents and peers to have their lives figured out, but we are.

Life after high school is stressed so much senior year that it has been the only thing on my mind. With all of that, I guess you can say I’m conflicted, scared, worried and confused. I’ll admit I’m all of those things.

To sum it up, I like to say: my life is subject to change.

Danyeal Escobar (she/her/hers)
WHO IS SHE? Danyeal Escobar is 16 years old and a junior at Edison high School. She loves to capture memories through photographs. She's a dreamer of food, a sky enthusiast, a secret princess and the future owner of a red panda (or maybe she'll settle for a cute dog). She plans to continue her passion for writing and photography in college.

DID YOU KNOW? Danyeal hopes to one day write for a major cosmetic or fashion company's blog, like her cousin who inspires her.

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