The Path More Traveled

Ally Russell, a Scripps Ranch High School senior, is our writer for the 2015–2016 school year. She titles her column “The Story So Far…” because high school is a time of many firsts. She realizes she and her peers are just beginning their lives.

When I was younger, I spent many afternoons at the beach, watching the waves crash angrily against the shore. From where I stood, I could never see clearly where the waves were coming from and was often knocked down by the currents. Only after they passed and I regained my footing was it obvious where they began.

As a senior I’ve written these columns with a sense of omniscience that I thought every almost-graduate possessed. Now, with embarrassing clarity after the waves of 2015 have passed, I can admit that senior year has left me no more prepared for the future than the last 17 years, and no less wary of what changes may come.

High school is a catalyst for change, senior year even more so. While I find myself holding onto the familiarity of the last 18 years, avoiding incoming changes, I also feel myself growing restless, eager to begin the next chapter of my life.

Although the butterflies in my stomach are equal part nerves and excitement to graduate, there is a sense of calm accompanying the knowledge of what changes are ahead. College will bring unanticipated challenges, however, I can clearly see the path that I’ve paved for myself. Reworking my initial issue with change, it might be the unexpected I’ve tried to avoid rather than the change itself.

It may be unrealistic to expect that Scripps Ranch High School’s entire graduating class will go on to college; even more so to assume college is right for every graduate. Over break I reunited with some of my friends who just finished their first semester of college. Among stories of success and self-discovery was one less enthused about the chosen college. One of my friends confided that they were not returning to university at all.

In a community where parents start saving for college before their children take their first steps, the possibility of leaving university seemed a petrifying option. As my last high school semester begins, I realize that while I often chastise myself for dwelling on the past, I’ve never considered how meticulously planning my future could hinder my progress.

Without realizing it, I’ve followed the path more traveled, lined with thousands of footsteps. Recalling one of Robert Frost’s poems, I’m forced to reconsider my dependence on the path more traveled. Maybe Frost was right. Maybe there is more value in the path less traveled.

Ally Russell, SRHS Senior