It's eight a. m. and the sky is a deep blue without a cloud in sight. Your legs, buried knee deep in white powder, are attached to a large plank of fiber glass and wood. Strapped to your snowboard, you adjust your goggles. Feeling a dry wind touch your chin, you pull your zipper up over your mouth. Looking around, all you can see are the white peaks of mountains. Standing at the top of this mountain, you think, The only thing more enjoyable than standing here is surfing down the slope waist deep in freshly fallen powder.
This is the dream for all snowboarders, but a reality for only a few. One of the lucky ones is my sister, Stephanie, who has been teaching at Lake Louise Ski Resort in the Canadian Rockies for three years. When she graduated from high school, she packed up and moved West.
When you ask what a student will do after high school, you'll get a different answer than if you ask what that student wants to do after high school. Most go straight to college. When someone asks what I want to do after high school, I answer, "I'm going snowboarding." I have decided to follow my dream and spend a year or two working and travelling in western Canada, Australia or New Zealand to teach snowboarding.
Most students don't consider anything but going to university. What they don't realize is that they are wasting some of the best years of their lives. I'm not saying school is not important, but whether you go this year or next doesn't matter so much in the long run because college will still be there. Why not take a year off and do something you want? Why not visit the plains of Africa, explore Europe, or backpack through Tibet?
If you are not the type of person who enjoys backpacking in foreign countries and sleeping in tents or youth hostels, you can always spend a year working. That is what Stephanie did, and I hope to do after high school.
Another option (that makes people call me crazy) is to sign up for the Armed Forces. Although many laugh, I think it is a great idea for anyone who wants to work and travel at the same time.
This is my dream and my future, and I wrote this to give those who would like to take a year off the courage to do it by saying "You are not the only one." So whatever happens after high school, the important thing to remember is do your best, and have fun doing it.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.