Chapter 7-The Plan
Plant the seed for a basic life after high school plan.
“I ain’t going to college yo! I am good!” I said as I slammed down my ace of spade, then gathered up my book of cards and neatly placed them on the side of the desk in Mrs. Betchman’s 4th block English class. She allowed us to play cards for a few minutes while we packed up and waited for the bell that would send us off to lunch.
“I ain’t going either, man,” said my friend Carlos, “That’s for them smarty arty wannabe white boys.”
“I feel you man. I ain't going either. I’ll probably go into the army or Marine Corp,” said my other good friend, Glenn, as he peeked over the six cards that he had remaining in his hand.
Before we could finish the game, we heard a loud ding… ding… ding sound. It was the bell ringing that signified lunch was ready. As I walked away from that 4th block English class in 1995 and headed to lunch during my senior year, some of the kids in that very same class were starting to get acceptance letters and were talking about heading off to college in the fall. I could only think of one thing. I ain’t going to college. To hell with that.
We ate lunch, laughed, and joked around like we normally did. I spent more time talking about what I was not going to do after graduation than what I was going to do. High School graduation for me had been a mere dream. There were times that I thought I would not graduate from high school, but instead, catch a stray bullet, or get shot, get beaten by the police, or go to jail. With graduation right around the corner, I had no idea what was in store for my life. This was when my friends were experimenting with drugs and when adults I knew were already hooked mostly on crack cocaine. The street life was appealing, but I knew I could do better than selling drugs.
Fortunately, my life changed during one of those 4th block card games in March of 1995.
A few weeks passed, and I was playing cards again during English class. My eyes were deeply focused on the hand I was about to bid, and I was suddenly interrupted by this deep stern voice coming from the front of the room. As I look up and over, I saw a man, small in stature, with a huge pair of glasses and a very low haircut. His eyebrows were thick, and his voice was heavy. As I looked up, his eyes connected with mine, and he said, “Hey, you! Come here, and let me talk to you for a minute.”
I was thinking, I don’t know this guy. What does he want with me? So, I didn’t move. I looked around the room as if to gesture that he is talking to someone else and not me.
He then said, “YOU, COME HERE BOY!”
By now my friends are looking at me like, Dang, dude, what in the world did you do this time? I started walking over to him slowly as he leaned further inside the door frame.
“What is your name, and who is your mother?” he said in a very stern voice.
I was thinking, This dude is going to call my momma?! What the hell is this about?! “I am Marlo, and my momma name Rosetta,” I said as discreetly as I could. I didn’t want my friends to hear how this conversation was going to end.
He then said something that surprised me. He asked, “What are you going to do when you graduate?”
I was standing there in the doorway of 4th block English being asked the very question that everyone was dying to know the answer to. Fortunately, I had the answer to that question ready to go so I blurt out, “I ain't going to college.” He then said, “I understand. It’s not for everyone.”
I thought, Finally someone who understands and is on my side! This guy is alright with me.
He then said, “Would you like to go on a trip this Thursday?”
At this point, I was confused. Why take me anywhere? I didn’t give a good answer. I just told you I don’t have a plan, and now you want to take me on a trip? So, I asked what any young man would want to know about a trip to a place that he has never been, “Is there going to be food on this trip?”
He nodded his head, and those thick eyebrows moved up and down. I took that as a yes. I motioned with my head, and he understood that I was interested.
“By the way,” he said, “My name is Anthony Graham. You can call me Mr. Graham.”
“Yes sir,” I stated. He then said, “Do you have a shirt and tie? If not, borrow one from someone, and instead of reporting to homeroom on Thursday come straight to my office at 8am.” I agreed, and off he went with his glasses sitting on top of his head. I went on to lunch that day never thinking about or questioning where we were going or exactly what we were going to do. It didn’t matter. I knew that food would be involved and I would certainly be there.
Looking back on that day, I realized how important it is for a young person to have a plan. A plan requires proper preparation. I didn’t have that either. But at that point, I started to realize my days were numbered, and if I was really going make anything out of myself, I needed to start by analyzing what I was going to do upon graduation.
Planning is a key part of life for students and adults. Not just having a plan but also writing that plan down on paper with clear goals and objectives will help you navigate life’s path. Life is about natural progression. Most people will journey from elementary school to middle school to high school and then beyond. You already know certain things are inevitable; therefore, you should create a plan for life after high school. A plan is your intent to do something with a purpose. There are no mistakes in life. Everything that happened to me happened for a reason. I had no plan for after graduation, and I had done minimal work in high school to prepare for college. I didn’t know how to study; my grade point average was low; and my coursework was weak. Later, all these nuances would come back and plague me in the worst way.
Create a plan for yourself as early as you can. Your plan should change as often as your mind changes. It should serve as a blueprint for your life and give you a goal of knowing exactly what you want to do and where you want to be two to three months after you graduate high school.
Below is a short sample plan that can serve as a foundation for college planning specifically: If the military is of interest to you, then start practicing for the ASVAB as early as your sophomore year of high school. Take it early for practice, and take it over again to achieve the score you want.
If learning a trade such as automotive or welding is of interest to you, seek out programs and two year schools that can assist you.
*Deep Dive: Carlos speaks about not wanting to be smarty arty in this chapter? Why do you think Marlo does not want to showcase his intellect to others?
*Think Tank: Having a plan is a very important piece of what is discussed in this chapter. Some students were talking about Military and others were unsure what the next step was. A plan is having intent to carry out a set of actions, to reach a specific goal. Think about your plan and write it down below. Be very specific, and remember it can always changes.
*Bonus Question: What other resources can you use to help prepare for life after high school? Example: List some Apps to use, and Websites to visit.
Open the attachment below titled: 9th-12th Guide. Think about what grade you are in and what areas you need to focus on to be college and career ready.