As summer gets underway, this year's high school graduates are beginning the next chapters of their lives. Take Ian Woodruff, Laura Coleman, and Mallory Nelson. These three friends from Idaho City have lived in the mountain town of a few hundred people all their lives. All three head off to different colleges in the next few months. That brings excitement and trepidation. They worry about paying for school, making friends and finding jobs after they graduate from college.
Mallory Nelson is going to Lewis-Clark College to study social work. She got a track scholarship. “It’s not an expensive school,” she says. “First year I think I’ll get taken care of…we’ll see about the next year. I don’t want to take out a loan.”
Ian Woodruff echoes Nelson's student loan reluctance. He’ll work summers to avoid those loans. He’s more concerned about what comes after he finishes his degree in marine biology from Western Washington University.
“People employ marine biologists but there’s not a ton of jobs,” he says. “So I get a little worried that if the economy isn’t any better will I be able to find work?”
He says he may stay in school until he gets a PhD to be more competitive in the field. Laura Coleman also worries about employment after college. She’ll be at Boise State this fall studying music education.
Coleman’s seen cuts to public school budgets and says music is often sacrificed for savings. But she’s more focused on that first week of class. “I’m worried about making friends,” she says. “Since we’ve grown up here (Idaho City), you’re friends with everybody. You don’t even have to try.”
Going from a world of familiar faces to one of strangers worries all three, even Mallory a classic extrovert. But they're more excited than worried when they look to the future. Woodruff, who describes himself as “pretty stoked” to go into in a larger world wants to live somewhere near the ocean, that’s also close to good skiing.
Coleman wants to be a music teacher in a small town. Nelson wants life to surprise her. She says she may end up a social worker in a small town or a big city or meet a guy and move to Montana to do something else.
“I’m up for change,” Nelson says. “There’s not going to be anything that stops me.”
This summer we're profiling recent high school graduates throughout Idaho. Maybe you've just graduated or know someone who has. We'd love to know and hear their story.
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