Sean’s Story of Exploring Life Beyond High School

“I’m a handyman. My money is within my own means. Like, if I got my tools, I’m never broke.”

Meet Sean

Sean’s Story of Exploring Life Beyond High School

‘Forget it, I’ll just go to the university and just try my luck there.’”

“I’m a hands-on person, and I’m an in-person person as well. So anything I learn, I need to learn by… a teacher in front of me actively teaching me. I’m not so good when it comes to trying to learn something off of a computer.”

“I found out I was pretty good at sociology, the basics of engineering. I found out I had a good understanding of physics and how things are designed. I found out I was a pretty good drawer. I found out I was a pretty good cook. Things like that, just coming here, being by myself… you really just discover things that you probably wouldn’t have discovered… so it was worth the experience.”

What Sean Found Helpful

Sean’s Aspirations for the field:

  1. Students are better supported in identifying their passions and interests and making decisions based on those. Sean encourages high schools and student-serving organizations to embrace creating processes to help students explore different fields. “When I was in [one of my programs] and I was going through the college application process, I feel like they were more focused on me applying to [four-year] colleges than they were on me applying to colleges that really were oriented around what I wanted,” noted Sean. “For students like me, who weren’t really interested in a four-year institution, [helping them] instead identify, ‘Oh, yeah I want to go work on cars, I want to work on building management or something… just having a process, so they can [help students] sniff out those types of desirable skills that people really want. I think that would have been really beneficial.”
  2. Students have more opportunities to build relationships with mentors that reflect their passions, identities, and personal contexts. Sean recognizes that he was connected with many great mentors who helped him navigate the college application process. However, he wishes that student-serving organizations could take a step further to hire mentors “not only from the corporate setting, [but also] trade settings.” Sean believes this could better help students find “that guardian angel, even if it’s a teacher… the janitor, anybody really who has a love or care for you.”

Read other student stories of exploring life beyond high school:

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The To&Through Project aims to increase high school & post-secondary completion for under-resourced students of color in Chicago & around the country.

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The To&Through Project

The To&Through Project aims to increase high school & post-secondary completion for under-resourced students of color in Chicago & around the country.