My Aunt Amy is the matriarch of one of my favorite families, and she was my favorite mother growing up (sounds strange, but I had many mothers…more about that in future posts).
I wanted to start this series with my Aunt Amy for two reasons. First, she is the mother of two high school graduates, who also happen to be two young adults that I respect a lot for the choices they’ve made since graduating high school. Second, I figured Amy was a mother many families could relate to.
Even though she has been able to provide for her family, her and my uncle never attended college themselves, so they experienced many of the challenges that the families of first-generation college students routinely face.
Through my conversation with Amy, and mothers in the future, I hope to answer the following questions: what’s most challenging about transitioning from high school to adulthood? How can Critical Thinkers help young people succeed?
For Thought #9, I’ll narrate Amy’s challenges and successes navigating the transition from high school to adulthood with her children.
@founderctc: “What was challenging about coaching your child through the transition from high school to…something else?”
Amy shared many great insights on the challenges she faced navigating public schools; however, two challenges stood out from our conversation: choosing the ‘right’ classes and communication.
More specifically, Amy talked about her struggle to get her son taken out of a course that “they [his high school] wouldn’t let him out of.” She explains that she physically had to go speak with a counselor before the school would transfer him out of a class after she realized the course didn’t count towards CSU (California State University) and UC (University of California) eligibility for admission.
By his final year of high school,”it was too late,” she lamented. While he could’ve made up the classes his senior year, Amy said, “I wanted him to enjoy his senior year,” plus he decided to enlist in the US Coast Guard. She adds, “[my daughter] was a little easier because she went to a private school,” shedding light on the different circumstances public school counselors find themselves in – college advising isn’t always the priority. She ended her point with, “All that stuff is confusing and hard to navigate – especially what class they [high school students] need to take to get into a 4-year.”
Another challenge Amy brought up during our conversation was “communication”. She recalled how the communication with school changed once her children entered high school. She explains, “unless your kid is doing something really bad [in high school] you don’t know.”
Similarly, she explained how difficult it was “talking to [my son] about it [his grades] in a way that didn’t end up in a fight” once he reached high school, and how she could’ve used some help “keeping him organized and on track.”
@founderctc: “What would you consider a success with your children’s transition to adulthood?”
While Amy mentioned many successes, she summed it up when she said, “I love that neither of my kids have been afraid to do what they want to do.”
While Amy would’ve preferred for her daughter to attend college on a softball scholarship, she talked about how much courage it took to choose cosmetology, something she loved, when everyone expected her to play softball. She adds, “six years later, high school girls still ask [my daughter] for her autograph.”
She goes on to say, “it’s awesome to see them [my children] excelling at what they’ve chosen to do,” recalling how fear and having children young deterred her from doing things she might’ve wanted to do.
@founderctc: “What advice do you have for parents who are preparing their children for the transition to adulthood?”
Immediately, Amy replied,”start early,” and “ask for help.”
Amy explains, “prepare your kids early then they can have fun their senior year.” Because of the time her son wasted in courses that didn’t count towards college admission, he had to choose between making up courses his senior year or not making up courses – fortunately, he found something he really wanted to do after high school that didn’t require him to make up courses.
Amy also suggested that parents not only take advantage of resources, such as Google and counselors, but professional advice as well because “everybody needs a little help.”
My conversation with Amy reinforces how difficult it can be for young people to navigate high school. Moreover, she has me excited to interview more families and put a spotlight on the challenges and successes youth and the families that support them experience making the transition to adulthood.
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