This week marks the beginning of the end of my high school senior’s life in Baltimore County schools. I remember so well his first day of kindergarten when I took off work to take his picture as he got off the school bus.

I told him to prepare for a roller coaster of emotions this year. He’ll enjoy being the top dog at school, but at the same time, each day will take him closer to the inevitable good-byes that mark high school graduation.

This will be a roller coaster year for me as well as I try to accept that my older son is now nearly a man. It’s a frightening thought. Is he really ready to go out into the world?

Added to all the usual worries are the recent reports about the cost of college and the dismal employment prospects that meet those college graduates after they have spent four years (or longer) preparing for jobs that might not exist. One columnist even compared the plight of college graduates with that of indentured servants centuries ago.

Of course, those are mainly my worries. If my son has those concerns, he keeps them well hidden. He wants to have a good time in his senior year.

He is looking forward to taking interesting classes, such as photography and forensics. He is looking forward to hanging out with friends.

Jobs? College? When you’re young, the world seems to be yours for the asking. Maybe it’s just as well he doesn’t know the full truth. He’ll learn it soon enough.

Liz Atwood is a former Baltimore Sun features editor who teaches journalism at Hood College. She is the mother of two sons, ages 12 and 16.

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