Skylar Williams, a senior at Madison High School in Northeast Portland, is mostly on his own when it comes to figuring out life after graduation. Skylar met this school year with Tim Nesbitt, chairman of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission. They talked about Skylar’s college plans, his summer construction job and how to make the leap from high school to college and career less daunting.
Read the PWA interview.
How are your classmates dealing with senior year? Do they have a plan for what comes next?
One of the things that holds a lot of kids back is they don’t feel like what they are learning in school is helping them come to any decisions about what’s next. It’s kind of scary! I mean, a lot of kids don’t want to think about that stuff. It’s intimidating. It’s a lot to comprehend.
A lot of kids, they don’t even know who they are. They’re at an age where they’re cheap jerseys developing who they are as a person. To ask someone who’s trying to figure out who they want to be as a person, to ask what they want to do for a career, that is ridiculously hard.
What could help with that?
I think more kids need to get involved with their college-and-career center. Me personally, I just couldn’t avoid that little voice in my head asking what am I going to do with my future. That’s how I ended up in the career center my junior year. After learning about it, it became a lot more eye-opening. I realized it wasn’t so daunting, it wasn’t so scary, the idea of my future. That gave me time to find options to experience now so that I have a better idea of what I want to do.
Tell me more about the college-and-career center at Madison High.
Mrs. Spencer (Madison’s career coordinator), she’s the one who helped me. I just came in and asked questions. She gave me stuff I could fill out and places I could go. That’s how I went to the Howard S. Wright Career Day. The college stuff and the summer internship came next. That’s how I got rolling.
You’re a senior. What are your plans now?
Right now, I’m swamped with many, many scholarship applications. I’m definitely going to college. Where I go depends on how many scholarships I get. It all comes down to money, sadly, which isn’t always the best. cheap jerseys But it’s college, and I just want the education.
What are you planning to major in?
I know it’s going to have something to do with business. I feel like having interviews like this has taught me a little bit about myself and that I’m good with people. I know how to talk and feel like that could help me in a business sense.
What about your paid internship this summer through the Pacific Northwest Carpenter Institute’s Construction Camp? Did you work with carpenters? Tell me about it.
I worked with carpenters, laborers, and was just generally a handyman. … I did get to talk to the general contractors to figure out what their paths where. It was really interesting to get an idea of how everyone ended up where they were. It was eye-opening to see how the contractors work and how the laborers work. Just from being in that field for three months, I could see there was a feeling that people in management need to have a better sense of how the contractors work. That’s what I wanted to figure out, if there was some kind of path where I could go to college, be a contractor and then work into a management position.
So what kind of project did you work on?
We were at the Oregon Zoo with Lease Crutcher Lewis. They were about halfway through a big project. I was there at a really exciting time. They were putting up all the walls for the huge elephant house, so just watching that go up was cool. My personal work involved a lot of running around, grabbing tools and whatnot.
One of the things we’re looking at on the Higher Education Coordinating Commission is building a website for students that would inform their decisions: How does a student like me, from my background, fare at this institution? What are the graduation rates? What are the costs? And how do they do after graduation, depending on the major? We’re assembling all the data right now. Are there other things that you’d say would be a top priority?
What you say sounds right. But I think to help people really figure out wholesale nfl jerseys where they want to go to college, there has to be some sort of layer that gets away from the statistics. I just know that in my process, I see so many statistics. You just really want to get a feel for the college. I don’t mean like ‘student life’; that’s pretty easy to figure out. I mean an overall idea of what my professors are going to look like and what they’re going to expect from me, and what I should expect from them going in. And maybe you guys could offer HOW to get cheap jerseys that information.
So you’re probably going to want to tour the campus.
A tour, yeah. Which is difficult for some kids, if their parents aren’t 100 percent involved. Like for me, that is difficult. With my mom, given how busy she is, it’s hard to find time for her to take me to UO for the day.
You said you’ve always wanted to go to college.
Honestly, I did. I can remember sitting in class in the third grade and getting in trouble and telling my teacher, “Oh, I hope this doesn’t affect my chances of getting into college.”
And do your parents support this idea of you going to college?
My mom loves the idea that I want to go to college. She doesn’t really know how to help, which is OK. But she supports me.
Do you play sports?
Yes, football. Which actually came to a sad end. I got a concussion early in the season and am out for the year. I was out of school for about two weeks. What I’m doing now is kind of growing past that and kind of dealing with the end of a chapter in my life.
Looking ahead to a year from now, are you planning for next summer?
Honestly my goal is to get so many scholarships that I have money left over – you know, that’s my goal. Right now, I’m searching for a job just to help my mom and pay for the basic necessities.
The Dallas School District decided a while back to let students stay another year as seniors and gain college credit while still in high school. It has really expanded in the last couple years. It’s like blurring the hard-and-fast step out of high school and go away to a college campus. You seem ready to make that transition, but a lot of kids aren’t. So I’m intrigued by other models where we don’t make these transitions such a steep step from one world to another.
I think that’s an amazing idea. I think a lot of kids could benefit from that, those kids who need that extra oomph. Some kids, PCC is still too much for them. The idea of being able to go to a community college while you’re still in high school, and still have your supporters around you in a place that feels safe,
that would help a lot of people.
Anything else you want to add?
I think it comes down to nurturing kids to be able to make a decision that is comfortable for them. There are too many kids who just want to put this off. They want to Nfl think, “I’m in school, I have enough stuff to worry about, avec I’m going to just do that.”
Is there anything you know now, as a senior, that you wish you had known as a freshman or sophomore?
I should say, “It’s OK if your perspective changes, it’s OK if your ideas change. It’s Efficiently OK if you don’t know what you want to do.” One thing I think we’ve overlooked for kids in this age group is that we’re growing still, and we’re changing. There is this idea that we need to know everything already, and the truth is, that’s just not going to happen. So learn about yourself, and do the best you can to just hang in there, and know that there’s nothing wrong with you.
This interview was recorded and edited for clarity and brevity by the nonprofit Portland Workforce Alliance.