As students near the end of the school year, seniors face the inevitable reality of growing up. Most of them will be legal adults when they leave high school. For most HBA seniors, college, something once far beyond the horizon, is now visible a few months away, and will mark the beginning of an independent life. It’s an exciting prospect for some, as many are leaving the island or moving out, which makes for quite the adventure. That said, moving away from home is scary. With it comes a myriad of unknowns: an unfamiliar environment, daunting educational challenges, having to make new friends, and being separated from family. 

The issue generally at the forefront of students’ minds is preparation. Senior Ella Lim talked about her current lifestyle, saying, “I try to be healthy and productive. You know, sometimes I find myself procrastinating on work, or, you know, losing motivation.” She, like a lot of her peers, doesn’t feel all that competent in dealing with “adult problems,” but she added, “I think that I’ll be well equipped by the end of college.” 

Overconfidence, on the flip side, is a tripping point for some. Reflecting on the end of his high school career, History and Economics teacher Stan Herder said, “I thought I was a lot more mature and experienced than I really was. There’s things I didn’t know how to do well, I didn’t know how to wash my own clothes. I didn’t know how to cook well. And so a lot of it was those basic life things that often are taken care of by home but we often don’t do things about insurance [or] how do I get a license?”

For most, post- high school life comes with a great deal of freedom, and with that freedom comes the need for responsibility and discipline. HBA alumni Justin Mayeshiro, who graduated last year, is currently a professional photographer and business owner. He’s had an atypical post-HBA experience as he opted not to go to college, and started working immediately. In the past year, Mayeshiro has managed to build a successful photography and videography business. Since beginning his career, Mayeshiro’s found a system of balance and organization that works for him. When asked for tips on how to live and work responsibly, he wrote, “In order to better balance out fun with work, I heavily rely on my schedules. Each day is planned in advance with time cut out specifically for work, daily chores/errands, and recreation. Sticking to my schedules allows me to do all the things I want to in a day, yet still remain disciplined and productive.” Practicing this is easier said than done. Mayeshiro acknowledges that “time management and self discipline were never qualities that [he] could find the secret to [as a student],” and that he knows many current students are in that “same sinking boat.” However, Mayeshiro’s example should give students hope. “After months of hard work and dedication towards self improvement, I found ways to get myself out of bed and use my hours to their fullest,” he said.

Science teacher Claire Mitchell points out that an important aspect of “growing up” is becoming more self-aware, particularly about what motivates you and what kinds of expectations you have for yourself. “If you haven’t done that self discovery piece before college,” she explained, “you can kind of get caught up and look for other external factors to lean on and other external influences to lean on. And they may or may not be the influences that are good for you.” 

Despite the unknowns about the future, Mayeshiro gave his own hopeful reassurance, saying that there’ll always be places to learn in and out of the classroom. He said, “Even though I left high school, I still found myself with teachers. Whether these teachers were professional photographers/videographers, YouTube, or the bookshelves at Barnes & Noble, I never found myself in a short supply of knowledge for me to take advantage of.”