Some seniors plan for something other than college


KE File Photo

After graduation, some seniors hope to find themselves outside the classroom doing things like work, internships, or playing sports.

BSM, a college preparatory high school, does just what it claims: prepares its students for college. Seniors receive their diplomas in May and go off to college in the fall. Yet, a handful of students in the 2020 graduating class aren’t going to college directly after high school. Instead, they plan on playing hockey and traveling the world.

The boys’ hockey team at BSM has some talented players who will be pursuing more time on the ice after high school. Nate Schweitzer will be playing juniors in Sioux Falls, South Dakota before playing for Colorado College, Blake Mesenberg plans on playing in Omaha, Nebraska,  and Cooper Gay will be staying close to home, likely playing for the Minnesota Magicians team in Richfield. Since they hope to play in college, juniors is a step in the right direction. What most people don’t understand is that in the hockey world, it’s not as common to go straight to playing in college. “I think people in the hockey world understand, but other people are kind of confused on what’s going on,” Nate Schweitzer said. 

They all still plan on furthering their education while playing juniors by taking online classes. “I’ll also take a couple online classes next year that’ll transfer over into college, so, it’s not like I’m totally missing out on education,” Schweitzer said. 

Even though their path isn’t typical for most seniors, Nate, Blake, and Cooper have received support from friends and family “my parents are…on board with it…[and] a lot of my hockey friends are super happy that I’m doing it,” Cooper Gay said. 

Instead of dedicating his time to a sport after high school, Sebastian Perez plans to travel and  teach. Sebastian is looking into traveling with Oyster Worldwide, a gap year organization that sends volunteers and workers across the world. He’s thinking of teaching kids how to snowboard in Whistler, Canada. After that, he plans to transfer to France and hopefully travel around Europe. Sebastian is looking forward to the new experiences. “Getting at least one year off would be super refreshing and give me a new perspective,” Sebastian Perez, who wants to continue his education in some way after high school and get his real estate license, said. 

As for Sebastian’s twin Gaby, he will most likely travel for a year with his brother and then get started with real estate as well. He doesn’t plan on attending college unless he realizes he’ll need it. He is still excited, however, about the time off school. “It will…give me a boost in life…[so I can] get started with what I want to do,” Gaby Perez said. 

Sebastian and Gaby recognize how their decision to not go to college next year is different than most students at BSM. “Going to a private school where a bunch of people are getting straight A’s and going to really good schools, everyone kind of sees it as going completely against the grain,” Sebastian said. 

However, the twins have found that a lot of people wish they could do something similar and they feel taking a different path is really beneficial. “People are pressured to go straight into college right after high school, and parents think it’s the only way for people to be successful in life, but if people are more open and willing to doing other things after high school…I feel like a lot of people would have a way better perspective as to what the real world is…or be refreshed and ready to study again,” Sebastian said. 

 Similar to the Perez brothers, Max Shogren will be taking a gap year. He’ll be following in his siblings’ footsteps, who also took a year off before college. He plans to travel, do internships, visit more colleges, and spend some more time preparing for college. His parents inspired the idea. “My parents just wanted me to take a year to slow down and really think about what I want to do,” Max Shogren said.

My parents just wanted me to take a year to slow down and really think about what I want to do.

— Max Shogren

Max definitely wants to go to college after because he hopes to further his education in business.  Although he sees the value in college, he thinks that going on to something other than college right out of high school should be more common. “College is such a traditional thing that’s been done for…centuries, and just because it’s been done for a while doesn’t mean that it’s right. My parents gave me the opportunity to take a year off and I’m happy for it,” Shogren said. 

Jaq Rozga also plans on taking a gap year to work, hopefully as a pastry chef. She’s not sure if she will go to college because being a pastry chef doesn’t require a college education. Rozga’s always loved baking and fondly remembers spending time with her grandma and eating the pastries she’d make. She’s looking forward to taking the time off school to focus on her passion. “I’ll probably find more of who I am as a person,” Rozga said.

Another senior who is doing something different is David Estrada. He will be attending college while also enrolling in the army. He has already been a part of the National Guard for one year and will continue this part-time while in college next year. “The army’s…just like a normal job but…more strict and rules to follow…and the financial support was probably one of [my] greatest motivations towards joining,” Estrada said. 

Although going on a different path after high school at BSM is rare, those who feel the excitement for their adventure and different opportunities that it will bring. “It’s kinda scary but the more you think about it…no matter what anyone does, everyone’s going to go on a different path…A gap year is a once in a lifetime opportunity to take time off school,…grow as a person and figure out what you want to do,” Shogren said.