Once a VOXer, always a VOXer. Our series “Life After High School” features recent VOX ATL alums giving the teens coming up behind them the real deal on what life is like after graduation.
My life after high school has been many things; change, growth, maturity, a lot of anxiety, learning, unlearning and joy. All in all, I guess the words I would use to describe it would be a journey of self-discovery.
Having so much power over your own life all at once can be very overwhelming at first. After moving across the country to California and saying goodbye to the comfort of my parent’s home, I found that with this newfound freedom I was also now responsible for things like my health, bills, whether or not I was eating properly, time management, money management, even things that I thought were supposed to happen naturally like my personal happiness.
At first, every decision I made on this journey felt like it held so much weight because of the many outcomes that could take place. I would constantly question myself:
Does this job make me happy?
Am I making a wise choice in school?
Am I doing enough to make my parents proud?
Because of all of this weight, the path to self-destruction feels like such a relieving road and is so easily accessible when you have no one watching over everything you do and acting as your moral guide. You have to set your own boundaries and gauge these decisions based on what feels is right or wrong. Know that it is okay and impossible not to make mistakes, they are fundamental for growth. It is important to remind yourself that there is no playbook on how to live your life. Everything that happens to you and the things that you go through are all just a part of your journey.
One thing I struggled to realize at first is that just because my life was in my own hands did not mean I had any lack of support, whether that be friends, family, counselors or anyone else that touched my life in some way. I’ve learned more about the world and about myself through not only furthering my education but through my own experiences as well.
One such thing is the power of living in the moment. In high school, you are constantly forced to look forward into a future that is hard often hard to picture clearly. A lot of what you do tends to be catered towards that. After high school, although you are still consciously making decisions with your future in mind, you find that there is so much more to living. There are so many beautiful moments that would just pass you by if you aren’t paying enough attention. It’s all about balance.
This new stage of life causes a lot of things to be put into perspective, forces you to question the beliefs you always held about the world as a child, pushes you to form your own views and opinions surrounding what you believe in, and allows you to meet so many people from so many backgrounds and cultures. You find that human beings have so much more in common than you ever could have imagined. You can expect many exhilarating highs and quite a few tumultuous lows, but the most important thing to remember is that you are living a life that is all your own, your timing is your own and the choices you make should be about what is going to serve you first before considering anyone else.
Having the freedom to discover that without being afraid of judgment is the most freeing part of it all.