Every year in May, our schools go through the wonderful rituals of awarding those students, who have worked so hard throughout the year, their high school diplomas. This tangible certificate reinforces to them the hard work and dedication that they have given over the past several years. Some take longer than others to complete their courses; others have life situations that have added more complexity to their life plans which sometimes not only lengthen their timeframe but also permanently change their trajectory. Regardless of their own circumstances, the fact remains that if they are determined and focused enough, that goal can still be a reality.
As adults, we look back on those times still with some wonder and amazement that we too cleared that hurdle for ourselves at that point in time. Growing older helps us to see just how very young we were and just how young our students are. The world back then compared to today was very different. The complexity of the world we live in today adds another level for students trying to navigate their way towards that same goal. The options and paths in getting to their high school diploma have exploded. No longer do you need to actually sit in a classroom, or listen to a lecture, or even step foot in a library to complete a research paper. Content and information is everywhere and can be accessed at any time freely by anyone. It no longer has gatekeepers.
Our students literally have the world at their fingertips today. In one sense, their futures are 100% open and unfiltered. Their dreams and goals could potentially lead them in unlimited ways. Is there too much choice? Could that make many of them paralyzed in decision making? Sometimes it’s much easier to choose from a small set than when given an overwhelming plate. What do you think?