Warrior Words: My high school map

At Wilton High School, every Wednesday for four years, every student attends a 30-minute advisory period with the same adviser and roughly 10 other students. At the start of my freshman year, my adviser handed us a blank sheet of paper and told us to map out what we think high school will look like for us, with points along the way such as “somebody who influences me,” and “where I’m headed next.” Four years later during our last advisory, we got them back, and mine was almost spot on. I predicted theater would be what made high school not just tolerable but actually pretty good, I predicted I’d expand my friend circle well beyond the group of 15 girls who have been with me since seventh grade, and I predicated I’d be heading off to one of the Claremont Colleges in southern California in the fall, which I’m so happy to say is true.

When I committed to college in early April, I was ecstatic to be going to my school, and nothing anybody said would make me anything less than overjoyed. However, as the weeks went on, as any person making the biggest life decision they’ve ever made would do, I started to question myself. I knew this is what 17-year-old me wanted because of the tight feeling I’d get in my chest at the thought of going to any other school and the rush of excitement at the thought of going to the school I’ll be attending, but what if this is entirely wrong for 21-year-old me? What if I change so much that this isn’t what I want at all anymore?

I thought back to my freshman self: terrified of the seniors who staggered throughout the senior hallway where I now sit every day, in awe at the sight of the seniors on the Theater Club board which I retired from one week ago, hoping to someday be a Madrigal singer before I was a two-year member of Madrigals, and aspiring to be what I eventually became in high school. There were so many things I have now that four years ago I wanted nothing more than.

But this time it’s different. I don’t have a map that I can follow and I don’t have aspirations to reach for in college. I’m entering completely blind and I’ll be making it up as I go. I don’t know what I want to study, I don’t know if I’m going to continue theater, I don’t know anybody so I can’t think about who I want to expand my friend circle to; I have zero guidelines. This is a risk. The only criterion I have set for myself is on what campus my next four years will take place; the rest will be entirely improvised.

I know I didn’t make the wrong decision. I’m having doubts because I’m only human. But freshman me predicted pretty much my entire high school career spot on, including where I’d go to college. She’s been right on so much, so I’m going to trust her on this one. I’m going to trust myself in that I made the right decision. I’m taking myself down a different path than if I decided to attend a different college, so I’ll just have to wait and see where this one takes me.

Julia Foodman is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with four classmates.