Choose Your Path

Over the next few months, The Orange and Black will be interviewing some former students of Hanover High School who went in many different career paths after graduating, including attending four year schools, going straight into the workforce, or joining the military. These alumni will share their experiences and give advice on what to do after high school.

Edition 5 - Danny Gisher

Article by Sierra Stevens

His High School Experience:

Danny Gisher wasn’t exactly fond of high school. “I was a troublemaker. I didn’t try. It was just boring for me. The school was great. The teachers were great, it just wasn’t for me.” If Danny could go back, he says he would have definitely tried harder.

His Military Aspirations:

Despite his father being in the Army for 13 years, Danny didn’t consider going into the military until his senior year. “I wanted to go to college, but I didn’t have anyway to pay for it and I didn’t want to have to pay back $40,000 in loans. So I pretty much said, ya know, buckle up and go.” Danny decided to go into artillery in the Marines.

The Transition from High School to the Military:

The military and high school are two different worlds according to Danny. “Throughout high school, if you get in trouble, you get detention or something. In the military, you get in trouble, you lose rank, you lose pay, you might even get kicked out.” Life in the military makes you grow up very fast. “You need to get tough really quick. You need to be able to take a verbal lashing, and just man up. You can’t be a baby.”

Advice For Those Considering the Military:

Danny’s biggest piece of advice would be to know what you’re getting into. Do your research on the branches, know which is the hardest, which earns the most money, and which is right for you. He also says the military is a great resource in paying for college. “If you’re willing to wait one to two years on college, it’s a fantastic idea. It’s free and you get paid to go. Books are free, everything is free.”

College When Choosing the Military:

Danny got a late start on college because of the military. “Until probably your first year and a half in the military, you can’t touch college. It’s impossible to do it.” After a year of being stationed in North Carolina, Danny started receiving tuition assistance. “I go to college completely free, they pay for books and everything, and then once you get out, you get something called the GI bill. I could go to Harvard or Yale, if I got accepted, and they would pay for it. It’s based off the tuition of the school, so if you go to Harvard or Yale, you could get a couple years there. But I’m online, so I could get up to my masters for free. So I go to college for free and they pay me to go.”

Danny’s Part in the Military Now:

Signing up with the Marines comes with an eight year contract. The first four years are active duty. After those four years, you have the option to reenlist which is what Danny did. However, after re-enlisting Danny learned that he would have to go to Japan without his wife for three years. He then denied his reenlistment and is now in his remaining four years on inactive duty. However, this isn’t guaranteed. “Say, if Trump wants to start World War III, I would get recalled. I would basically just go back in and do what I was doing without a choice, no matter what I’m doing now.” Knowing that he could be called back at any minute doesn’t make him nervous. Danny says, “The bad part would be losing what I have now. I’d have to lose my job, I’d have to stop going to college, and my wife would have to live by herself. The whole transition back to the military isn’t hard. It sticks with you for life”.

Where Danny Is Now:

Danny now works in a very factory oriented job making brick for nuclear plants and steel mills. He has a bachelor’s degree in science and property management, and is continuing his education online. He hopes for progression in his field because of his degree.

Edition 4 - Lexi Herrick

Article by Sierra Stevens

Her High School Experience:

Lexi Herrick would describe her high school experience as involved and inclusive. “I was allowed the opportunity to stand out and try a bunch of different things, which I think empowers you when you get to college and to the career force. A lot of times you have to pick one niche or one part of yourself to really hone on, but I think the high school experience at Hanover makes you more diverse.”

On Finding the Right College:

Lexi applied to many schools and ended up getting accepted into eight different schools. She attended Elizabethtown for its similarity to Hanover. “They encouraged you to be an individual and to be involved in a lot of stuff. Right from the get-go, I was already working on the newspaper and TV station, so it was a lot like Hanover in the sense that it immediately involved you in the community.” However, Lexi ended up transferring from Elizabethtown to Shippensburg. “I went to a private school. I received a huge scholarship, I was a good student, but it still was a ton of money. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the school, the quality of education, or the experience I was having at Elizabethtown, because all that was very good, it was just so expensive.” Lexi ended up graduating from Shippensburg in just 3 ½ years. “I saved so much money by going there. I wouldn’t say I have regrets about choosing that college nor would I change the way that everything happened because it taught me a lot and obviously I had a good experience. I would just say, don’t turn your nose up at state funded schools.”

The Transition from High School to College:

Independence is a huge part of the transition from high school to college. “You have a lot less structure. I think the easiest way to make the transition is to be as independent as you can while in high school. Learning how to manage your own schedule and your own work will make the transition much easier for you.” Lexi also agrees that this is the hardest part of college. “Figuring out what you want to work towards and making sure that you actually do the work is huge. Your parents aren’t there and the professors are just doing their job, so they aren’t going to hound you for work. You have to do it on your own.”

On Advice for High School:

Lexi’s biggest piece of advice is to be true to who you are. “The VP at the last company I was at gave me this advice when I told her I wasn’t going to take the job that they offered me. She was like, ‘You know what? The most important thing you can do is be who you are, and know who you are. Not everybody is going to accept that, not everybody is going to think that you rock, or that you’re cool, or that you meet what they want from you, but you just have to know what you want from yourself. You just need to know who you are.’ I think that’s the biggest piece of advice I would give, just understand the core parts of yourself and just retain them.” She also advises to not care so much about what people think. “When you’re in high school, the biggest thing is people liking you, being accepted, and having people think you’re awesome. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. On that regard, if you spend your whole life trying to please everybody and trying to make everybody like you, you’ll never get anywhere. You just have to make sure you like who you are, and then you’ll be happy.”

On Her Transition from College to the Real World:

Lexi continued to be extremely hard working throughout college. “I graduated college early. While I was in college, I was working part time, every other day, in my co-op, or my internship. So, when I graduated, I had an offer there, and I also applied for jobs in the city because I was interested in maybe moving to New York or Philadelphia right out of college. I ended up accepting a position in Philadelphia, which is where I am now.”

Where Lexi Is Now:

Lexi works in digital marketing in Philadelphia. She works as a SEO manager, helping websites and companies to rank in search results on Google. Lexi also runs a website, Her Track, with fifty female writers and marketers across the country.

Edition 3 - Matthew Kline

Article by Sierra Stevens

His High School Experience:

Matthew Kline would describe his high school experience as “...very telling of his future". He became involved in theatre by trying out for “Alice in Wonderland” his junior year. “I used to be very shy and not very outgoing. Theatre turned me around, in a bit of a way. It got me to talk to more people and get more involved. I started feeling a lot more like myself.” Matthew was also editor in chief of the Orange and Black his senior year. He said the Orange and Black was “a beckon for where I would be in the future, and what I’d be doing and, how involved I would get and what direction I would take my life.” As soon as Matthew got to college, he became Assistant Editor at the school paper and was in a play. “Joining the paper made me realize I wanted to switch to communication journalism, while theatre brought along the greatest friends I could ever ask for.”

On Finding the College He Attended:

“I knew I was going to stay in state, but I did want to get far enough away from Hanover to get a different experience.” Matthew was accepted to Penn State York, Shippensburg, and Millersville and he attended tours of all of them. “Shippensburg was the lowest on my list. I just wasn’t interested, but I got accepted so I figured I would go check it out. It wasn’t a big tour, it was just a small group of people. We went to campus, and for whatever reason, it clicked and I absolutely fell in love with it. I still can’t pinpoint what it was...I just knew this was exactly where I wanted to go.”

The Transition from High School to College:

In transitioning from high school to college, Matthew says everything is on your shoulders. “High school is very structured. It’s A to B to C to D, back-to-back, the same thing everyday. With college, you’re making your own schedule, picking your own classes, and deciding what extracurricular activities you want to do. It’s a little bit of a system shock.” He says a lot of people focus on the parental aspect of college, leaving your family and going out on your own. Matthew, however, felt as though the biggest change was deciding for himself where to take his freedoms and how to focus them.

On the Hardest Part of College:

Matthew says general education classes were the classes he struggled in most. General education classes include basic math and english classes which aren’t focused on your major. “You think it’s like high school again, I want to be in a class where I’m out interviewing people, or I’m working on a video project, or I’m taking photos, but here I am, sitting in a classroom with a pen and paper. The knowledge you learn in general education classes is good, very practical knowledge, but I soon realized, that I wanted to be moving on to do what I wanted with my career.”

On High School and College Advice:

Matthew’s advice is to take a chance. “Absolutely dive in. If you have the smallest inkling of feeling, “Oh, I think I want to try this’, absolutely do it. It will change your life,” he says. It isn’t always going to turn out how you planned. “You’re going to find stuff you love and stuff you hate, but you’re going to college for new experiences and to get yourself out into the world, so you want to dive in and try new things.” Kline also advises not to be so anxious about things. “All the mistakes you made, successes that you have in college, are very important, no matter how bad or good they are, because they form what comes to be you, after college. Things will pan out, as long as you keep a good head on your shoulders, just focus on driving yourself and being the best you can be. It’ll all be fine.”

Where Matthew Is Now:

Matthew now works for the Goodwill Keystone Area as a marketing coordinator. He focuses on a lot of internal and some external communication along with basic marketing. “Working at a non-profit is a dream for anyone in the communications field. They help a lot of people and it’s great to be able to work somewhere, doing what you love, and being very passionate about it.”

Edition 2 - Rebekah Wicke

Article by Allyson Montour

Her High School Experience:

Rebekah Wicke uses the word busy to describe her high school experience. She recounts herself as a “...bit of an overachiever”. Taking part in rigorous courses such as AP Chemistry and English, to being the captain of the tennis team and a member of student council, she did it all and then some. Rebekah says that overall her high school experience was a good one, however she wishes she would have focused on the things she “...actually cared about”. “It flew by quickly,” she says.

On Finding the Right College:

Having previously searched for colleges during her junior and senior year of high school, Rebekah thought she wanted to go far away from Hanover. She decided to apply to McDaniel College, located in Westminster, Maryland, and she was accepted, and later on graduated from there.

The Transition from High School To College:

Rebekah recommends taking an AP or honors class if you are planning to attend college because they are “...helpful for for preparing for the workload”. However, there is a lot more free time when you reach college. “Your workload is lighter and you have extra time to do the activities you want or have a social life.” Rebekah also mentioned her path to get to her major in college. From a cardio-thoracic surgeon to a lawyer, she found herself having no idea what she wanted to do when she was about to enter college. She majored in communications, which began as an accident, but she went with it. “I loved the program, loved the classes, and loved the professors,” she said.

On High School Advice:

She advises to “...not overload yourself...”, even though many will tell you that is the best way to get accepted to a college. “Be selective when doing activities or things you like in high school.” Doing certain activities or trying to do all of them will not “...make or break if you get into college or how much of a scholarship you get”. Rebekah says that you should stick to what you like doing and what is meaningful to you because you will gain great memories from them.

Where Rebekah Is Now:

She now works in food marketing, more specifically “...a seasoning and spice manufacturer in Hampstead, Maryland”. Some parts of her job include creating new flavors and talking to customers across the country about flavors that are popular and ‘in’. She also oversees a lot of her company’s social media and “...radar press releases”.

Edition 1 - Josh Cartwright

Article by Sierra Stevens

Getting to Know Josh:

After Josh Cartwright graduated from Hanover High School, he went on to attend and graduate from Florida State University, a four year institution. Many deciding factors went into his decision to attend Florida State, and he decided to stick to his initial plan, attending a four year school. The university also had a promising creative writing program, which he had been interested in as a plan B from screenwriting. Finalizing his decision, Josh went to Florida and began attending classes.

The Transition from High School to College:

“The first year was really tough. It was a really large campus and most of the people there were from Florida, not the Northeast.” However, after transferring into the film program at Florida State, Josh found his niche. The workload wasn’t much of a problem. “I think what’s harder for people is that you’re on your own to figure out when to do the work and how to structure everything so that you can account for the workload.” Working hard in high school served as essential in staying on top of his work. “If you’re motivated in high school and you can develop good study habits it shouldn’t be an overwhelming transition.”

Four Year School Advice:

Josh’s biggest piece of advice would be to pursue whatever you’re passionate about. “I’ve taken a job and it wasn’t really my biggest passion, so you really just have to work extra hard to get what you want.” In choosing a four year school, Josh says to be realistic but not to give up on your goals either. “Whatever is most realistically possible for you in the moment is what you should do, but at the same time, if you have a certain aspiration, then you should follow it.”

High School Advice:

Don’t worry so much! “You know high school is obviously an important time and a time where you learn a lot about yourself. But compared to college and then what life has been like for me after college, it’s really just a drop in the bucket. At the end of the day, high school is really, in a lot of ways, only the beginning of your journey.”

Where Josh Is Now:

Josh is currently attending Wesley Theological Seminary pursuing a Master of Art degree.