As we shift from April to May, seniors are focusing on their choices for after High School. For those who applied to college, acceptances and rejections have been delivered. With the help of parents and school guidance counselors, they are sorting through yes/no and putting a check in the mail to secure their place in the upcoming Freshman class. For those who are not planning on attending college, students are working with advisors and parents to determine appropriate next steps.

There is always an incredible sense of anticipation and pressure as word arrives. I think it is very important that at this time we focus on helping all students with respect and support. This time in a teen’s life can feel like it is the pivotal moment, often imbuing it with an all or nothing quality. What we really know however, is that is just the next decision that leads to the next decision. There should be no sense of defeat if acceptance to one’s first choice college did not happen. We know that it is much more important what one does with educational opportunity than where one goes. We know that college is not for everyone and that success in life is not measured by an Ivy League degree.

By embracing individual differences and choices we give respect and lend support. By acknowledging that there is no one size fits all approach we open our teens to the myriad of options that allow for open exploring to find what is right. Happiness in adulthood is not measured by how much money we have or the job title we have. Happiness comes from feeling good about oneself, having loving, positive relationships, having purpose and meaning, living mindfully with a healthy lifestyle, being able to feel optimistic and balanced, having compassion and empathy for others, for demonstrating kindness and patience. All these qualities contribute to resilience and grit.

This is what we want our senior students to have as they embark on decisions and next steps.

We are with you and behind you cheering you on, one baby step at at time.