On to the Next Chapter

Mae Novakoski, Crown Writer

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As the month of March approaches, the school year reaches the final stretch. Throughout the year the senior class has been experiencing so many bittersweet lasts: the last football game, last basketball game, last volleyball game, and last halftime performance.  As the clock runs out on each of these activities, emotions and memories of years of dedication and participation come to a close as well. Yes, these last experiences are sad, but without them, the seniors would not be able to move on to a new chapter of “firsts” to come. Along with this new beginning is a very big decision… college.  Members of the senior class have either made their college decision or will be doing so very soon. Marian has been home to the class of 2018 for four years now, and the thought of leaving the school, the thought of walking out the doors for the very last time, is overwhelming to say the least. In just three short months seniors will be taking their last steps to receive their diplomas, but the big decision weighing heavily on their minds at the moment is college.

There are many factors that go into the decision-making process as a student decides where they want to further their education for the next four years. For some students their decision is mainly based on location. Lexi Renghini (12), attending West Virginia University this coming fall, said, “I chose my school not only due to the fact that I want to leave Illinois and see what other states have to offer but also because it is an affordable school with a great program for my major.” Some students just want to leave the flatlands of Illinois and move on to a new and exciting location for this new chapter in life. From the blazing hot sun of Florida to the snowy peaks of Colorado, each and every student has their own personal favorite place to be. Yes, there are many seniors that are ready to be out on their own and travel far from home, but on the other hand, there are others that want nothing more than to be where they are comfortable, and that is close to home.

There are many students that choose to stay close to home for college, and that can be for a variety of reasons. Some just simply love where they are living right now and choose to go to a school in their home state or neighboring state. Tyler Saxelby (12), attending Illinois State University next year, said, “ISU was the right fit for me because it is close enough to go home from time to time to see my family and also far enough away to grow in my independence.” There are many positives to staying home too. For example, if a student gets sick, they are only a couple hours away from home. Family and friends from home can easily visit during the school year.  In addition, a student might even attend school with friends they knew prior to college; already having friends and familiar faces on campus can make the transition easier.

Another major reason that some students choose to attend a specific school is due to athletic scholarships. Athletics are huge in society today, and those that truly love their sport will train long and hard to continue their athletic career in college. Patrick Brunken (12), committed to Benedictine University on a football scholarship, said, “Benedictine was the right choice for me it is close to home. Being close to home was a big factor in making my college decision because my family and seeing them often is very important to me. Also, I felt the Benedictine coaching staff was great alongside the amazing offer they gave me. Benedictine University is the best fit for me.”  Whether it’s a Division 3 school or a Division 1, a scholarship is a scholarship.  If the scholarship is tied to a financial motive, not only does the student get to play the sport they love, but they pay less for college as well, a choice well worth it.

With only three months left before graduation, the college decision-making pressures that many are feeling today will soon be replaced with relief and excitement as final decisions are made. Whether a college is chosen based on its location or special circumstances like a scholarship, it’s a personal decision for the student and their family. As Marian seniors say goodbye to the teachers and classmates that have been an extended part of their family over the past four years, they are about to open a new and exciting chapter in their lives. The memories and experiences of high school will become distant but not forgotten.  

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