beyond high school

When my daughter was in 8th grade and I was completely clueless about the high school process, she fell in love with Brooklyn Tech. I'd signed her up for test prep because it seemed like that's what many families were doing, but I knew nothing about the test itself, the specialized schools, admissions in general. But her heart was set on it and she said if she didn’t get in the first time she would take the test again in ninth grade (kids can do that but it’s much harder to get in that way - far fewer spots available).

She was a science girl. She loved geology, was interested in genetics and chemistry. She got in and quickly realized that as a staunch vegetarian she wouldn't do all the dissections necessary for AP bio. She chose Industrial Design as her major (Brooklyn Tech has a majors system - I'll write more about that another time) and while she now can fix any makerbot printer, she decided she had no interest in pursuing this field. 

After being at one of the top STEM high school in the country, she’s now a freshman majoring in costume technology at the Theater School at DePaul University. Her passion for making things - she started a costume club at Tech and taught kids to sew, embroider, knit, do make up, fake wounds, style wigs and more), which never had an outlet in a high school classroom, is now what she’s spending most of her time on. Amazing program that takes only 5 kids a year, plus she got a great merit scholarship.

The point of this story is that it’s high school. Your kid may love it. Your kid may hate it. Your kid might be ambivalent. Or travel in between all of these. Not every child will find a perfect fit school - in fact I know very few who do. And what they might discover in high school, as Izzy did, is what they don’t want to do when they get older. That was an unexpected and valuable lesson.

I said to her repeatedly, as I say to Jack who’s a sophomore at Tech - it’s just high school. A part of their journey. You get from it what you can and then there will be the next thing. It’s hard, when staring at the starting point of this process, to hold onto that mindset but it helps both you and your child. There will be options. There will be schools you are surprised that you like and others you’re surprised you don’t. Your child might end up in a completely different place than you first imagined. It’s keeping an open mind and not getting too caught up in any one place that will make this all a bit easier.