Expectations vs. Reality: What Did We Become After High School?

In light of Netflix’s The Politician hitting our screens, we wonder: Do our high school aspirations really dictate the people we become?

We live our lives in milestones. There’s a particular novelty to every new life phase we unlock—the predictable first word, the overly documented first day of school, the formative elementary school years. We count on the winds of change to blow in our direction with the turn of every leaf, which is why there’s a buzzing excitement (and a youthful side serving of nerves) that accompanies every shiny, newly acquired milestone. 

That excitement arguably reaches a fever pitch when we enter the formidable realm of high school. With a considerable chunk of movie history—from classic flicks like The Breakfast Club and Grease all the way down to modern-day treasures like Mean Girls and High School Musical—telling tales of high school marking some of the best years of our lives, we’re groomed to enter the school gates in our freshman year thinking that this is our first promising step into the real world.

Just how much do our high school aspirations shape the people we become? Ahead, we ask three professionals who’ve come a long way since high school. What has changed since those four memorable years of school life?  

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The Aspiring Writer

Adie Pieraz, 28

Think back to when you were in high school. Back then, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up?

Okay, this is is going to be cheesy. But in my daydreams, I always wanted to be a writer. It was a pastime that I thoroughly enjoyed and I could see myself doing it for life. I was realistic even then though, and I knew it wasn't really an option (not with my family); I had to pursue something practical. 

Fast forward to today, did you manage to fulfill that dream?

After graduating college with a degree unrelated to writing, I entered the insurance industry and stayed for almost three years. Without a job waiting for me after, I freelanced writing gigs from friends and eventually found a full-time job doing so. 

Did you ever consider pursuing another career? 

Yes, right out of college. Writing was a dream, not an ambition that I ever really thought was possible until I was in the slums of a job I hated and it was the only light at the end of the tunnel

What were the efforts you made to end up in the career path you have now? 

I'm not sure if it's considered an effort, but I took the risk and left the stability of my old job to do something I liked. [If you’re out to chase your ambitions,] do it early and take the risk. It won't be what you expect (nothing ever is), but you'll still be able to hold onto something you love at the end of the (incredibly long) day.

The Aspiring Basketball Player

Juan Miguel Patungan, 28

Think back to when you were in high school. Back then, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up?

Back in high school, I wanted to be a professional basketball player.

Fast forward to today, did you manage to fulfill that dream?

No, I wasn't able to fulfill my dream. [I ended up in a] completely different career path.

Was there a pivotal moment when you decided not to pursue your high school ambition anymore?

When I stopped getting taller back in second year highschool, I realized I didn't have the necessary tools to compete at the level I wanted to be in. I decided that pursuing a career in basketball with my height was not realistic.

Based on your personal experience, what have you learned about chasing your ambitions?

You have to face reality that not everyone can be in the PBA or NBA. I know it sounds sad, but you have to somehow accept the fact that you will never have your dream job. I still play basketball along with my friends in local leagues sometimes, which I guess is an okay substitute to playing professionally.

The Aspiring Teacher

Armi Treñas, 52

Think back to when you were in high school. Back then, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up?

For a while, I wanted to be a teacher. This was during the earlier part of high school. In the latter years, when computers were in vogue, I wanted a career that had to do with computers. Nothing specific; I just wanted to do it because that’s what was cool at the time.

Fast forward to today, did you manage to fulfill that dream? 

Today, I have my own consultancy company. I guess you could say that my current career is more in line with what I really wanted, which was teaching. 

Did you ever consider pursuing another career? 

Well, there were two other things that I wanted. The first was working in the field of foreign relations bceause I wanted to travel. There was a course called Foreign Services at the time, but I ended up not pursuing that career path for very long. The other job I dreamed of was to become a correspondent—not the usual journalist, but a war correspondent. I just thought it was adventurous and all, but the reason I didn’t pursue that were the obvious security issues and the problems I anticipated I’d subject my relatives to.

What were the efforts you made to end up in the career path you have now?

I got to where I am now with a lot of detours. I never really examined my priorities, so I had to be pushed in different directions. I think my journey was more of me reacting to a series of events. After seeing my colleagues and classmates succeeding in their careers and realizing I wasn’t happy in mine, I decided to go back to school. That was the turning point. 

When I went back to school for the first time, that’s when my passion for teaching was ignited. The second time, I took up a master’s degree in something I really wanted: Instructional and Performance Technology. I remember people asking me why I would go for a course like that. Nobody really understood it, but it was what I wanted to do. That was something that really made a difference, because up until now, it’s a hobby I get paid to do.

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Does the person you dream of becoming in high school impact the person you eventually become? The answer varies for these real-world adults and Netflix’s The Politician argues that high school is the battlefield of beginnings. 

Rich kid Payton has always known he's going to be president. But first he has to navigate the most treacherous political landscape of all: high school. Watch the trailer below!

Come and see if Payton succeeds at winning the presidential seat. Stream The Politician, available exclusively on Netflix starting September 27th! Get Netflix today with your Globe Postpaid plan at only P470 for 30 days. Click here to register!

Words Cessi Treñas

Art Alex Lara

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