Should I Stay or Should I Go


Iman Zahraa Patel

A student exits LHS, representing leaving high school in the past and the search for new beginnings with the start of college.

High school seniors are faced with all sorts of variables to consider when choosing their “next four:” price, education, school spirit, extracurriculars offered, et cetera. For some, distance from Libertyville to their next school is a positive, for others a negative. These students are looking forward to their future experiences, some in new and some in familiar places. 


Natalie Golwas didn’t expect to leave the Midwest, but the below freezing winters in Libertyville can’t compare to the Arizona sun.

“I kind of wanted to stay close, and then as soon as I got [to Arizona], it was really warm and nice,” said Golwas. “I just kind of based [my decision] on how nice the weather was because I committed right in the middle of the winter.” 

For Golwas, the lifestyle at University of Arizona helped seal the deal. 

“I did not think I was going to go there then as soon as I visited I just loved it. There were all types of people which I really liked, that’s kind of what I wanted… a change.”

Golwas’ original college plans were much closer to home, so she applied to many Midwestern schools.

“For a while I wanted to be in the Midwest, but it was mostly just because they were around and that’s kind of where everyone was applying.”

Many students have had dreams since childhood of attending a specific university, but the more realistic story happens when fate takes over. Golwas’s sister currently goes to school in California, so to “keep my options open” she looked for a west coast school to apply to.

“It was kind of just like a shot in the dark,” she said. “You know, I just applied and it ended up being the school that I love the most.”

Golwas will be majoring in communications and plans to transfer to the fashion school at Arizona.


For some students like Kristina Kotzan, staying close to family is everything. 

“My siblings are both at Marquette, so I think that made a huge impact,” Kotzan said. “I’ve always had a good relationship with my parents, and coming home to do laundry is always a plus.”

Already faced with the advantage of being close to home, Kotzan decided to commit to Marquette’s Health Science program, as she plans on becoming a Physician’s Assistant.

“I’ve always liked helping people,” she said. “I saw myself becoming a doctor or a veterinarian.”

Her interest in a career in helping people has stayed with her throughout high school. Over the last four years she’s taken a laundry list of classes to help her prepare for college, including her favorite, which was biology with Mrs. Owens.

“Right now I’m in AP Chemistry, Human Anatomy and Genetics,” Kotzan said. “I finished Spanish IV my sophomore year so I had the ability to take more science classes because I figured out that I really liked Biology and Chemistry freshman and sophomore year.”

As for advice for incoming seniors and underclassmen who might not know where to start looking for schools, Kotzan recommends looking at family ties.

“If you have family in certain areas of the US, or outside, it’s always very comforting for the first year,” Kotzan said. “If you have older siblings or older friends that have really enjoyed certain schools, you can always check it out and just go from there.”


Alyssa Abou Chakra has had a unique high school experience. A move from Ohio after sophomore year to Libertyville isn’t unheard of, but Abou Chakra also has roots in Thailand, Singapore and a family connection to Canada. 

“I lived abroad so I inherited my mom’s passport,” Abou Chakra explained. 

While she’s never lived in Canada, her visit to Montreal when she was 12 led her to the gates of McGill University today, where she will study biology on the pre-med track starting in the fall.

“I think deep down I knew that’s where I was going to go,” Abou Chakra said. “My mom told me that she bought me a McGill sweatshirt two months before I actually committed to the school.”

Abou Chakra will be close to extended family in the “negative 40 degrees Celsius weather” of Quebec. 

Her family has also impacted her desired career in neurology.

“A lot of my family gets these really chronic migraines. I thought neurology would be a good route to investigate because I’m curious how that works.”

To underclassmen and incoming seniors, Abou Chakra recommends prioritizing your time in and out of school. 

“If you’re going to be involved in a lot of stuff make sure it’s meaningful to you, don’t try to overextend yourself to buff up your resume,” Abou Chakra said, adding the importance of quality time with family and friends. “Don’t try to rush stuff because believe me the end of high school comes faster than you expect.”


Though students are scattering across the country, and abroad, all three students agreed that at the end of the day you will end up where you’re meant to be.