Students weighing options for post-secondary education

While some high school students and their parents may find planning for post-secondary education a stressful time, others feel prepared and anxious to embark on this next phase of life.
Most students are prepared for this journey in the sense of knowing what they would like to do. But for some, leaving home is a huge factor.
“I think the toughest part is not choosing what they want to do, but the adjustment realizing they’re moving away,” said Mary Jane Gushulak, a guidance counsellor at Fort High.
“Underneath, the stress and worry is coming from wondering if they are ready to leave,” she added.
Grade 12 student Megan Soderholm is among those who feel this way.
“I know what I want to do, but I’m not ready to do it. I’m scared!” she admitted.
Soderholm plans on attending Lakehead University in Thunder Bay next fall to study kineisiology. “It’s just sad to leave everything. It will be hard and different,” she lamented.
Others, like Trish Wilson, who hopes to attend Lakehead U. for psychology and religious studies next year, are feeling completely the opposite.
“I’m ready to move on from Fort Frances High. Maybe not financially, but emotionally for sure,” she stated.
Stephanie Mattson, who graduated last year, felt the same way. Mattson returned to Fort High this year to take extra courses needed to get into the Pre-health Science Medical Radiation technology program she is interested in studying at Cambrian College next year.
“Last year, I wouldn’t have been ready, but I feel like I am now. I know what I want to do,” she remarked.
While this confidence is very positive, Gushulak warned there are many challenges that must be faced when going away and becoming a college or university student.
She stressed students need to be sure that they know what they are doing and be sure they want to do it. They need to accept the distance and expenses associated with going away.
Students have to adjust to a huge workload compared to what they are used to in high school, she added. And they have to adapt to a totally new environment with all new people.
Time management becomes very important, essential, as well as organizational skills. Students need to be prepared and willing to take on these challenges.
Ontario college and university tours visited the high school earlier this month to help students out with answers to any questions they have regarding tuition and programs.
“I pretty much knew what I wanted already, but the college tour answered a lot of my little questions having to do with the program I was interested in,” Mattson explained.
Soderholm was very impressed with the tours. “Those people answered every single question that I had! They were so good!” she enthused.
Guidance also plays a huge role in helping students prepare for post-secondary school. Their help begins right from Grade 9 straight through to Grade 12, making sure students choose the right courses and are in the right stream.
“Mrs. Gushulak went out of her way to help me with everything. She helped me confirm what I wanted to do, and gave me all the information on what courses I needed and how to apply,” noted Wilson.
Students clearly have access to all the information they need in going away to pursue a post-secondary education, but when it comes down to it, being ready depends on the student.
“If a student doesn’t feel ready, we definitely encourage staying home for a year,” said Gushulak. “Students have lots of time, and going away to college or university isn’t something they should do until they are ready.”