FORT MILL — This is the fourth installment of a series documenting the lives of local high school seniors as they prepare for the next phase of their lives. Our intent is to profile as diverse a group of graduating seniors as possible. We are asking the subjects of each story to submit their own self-portrait photo.
For Lauren Fitzloff, beginning her adult life does not feel much different than the past four years has.
“I work 24/7,” Fitzloff said. “I just got another job, so I’ll be working 48/7.”
The Fort Mill High School senior has been working at least one job since 10th grade, and was able to use some of her savings last year buy a car.
“I just wanted something to do with my time, and I wanted to buy things myself. Now, I need money for my car and college, and my life,” Fitzloff explains. “I used to really like working when I first started, but now it’s more like just a paycheck.”
Fitzloff makes a point, however, to show that she is, in fact, grateful for the employment.
“It’s not so bad,” she said, quickly correcting herself. “And I’m going to College of Charleston to study business administration. I just filled out my housing stuff last week, actually.”
In addition to taking on a car payment and two jobs, Fitzloff has had to mature in her relationships, particularly with her boyfriend, who joined the United States Marine Corps last fall.
“It’s different to have a boyfriend in the Marines. It’s weird when people say that they haven’t seen their boyfriend in two days, and I try to show pity for them,” Fitzloff said. “But what do I say when I haven’t seen him in two months? I still stay pretty positive about it though, especially while I’m focusing on college stuff.”
When asked what she most looks forward to next year, Fitzloff breaks into the wide grin that only a new beginning can bring.
“I’m really looking forward to making new friends, and being out on my own. Charleston is really big on internships too, so I want to get into that,” Fitzloff said. “It’s been my mom and brother and I at home for most of my life, so it will be a little weird leaving, but I think it’ll be okay cause we have so many breaks and I can always come home if I need too.”
Fitzloff admits that she does have some reservations about the next four years.
“I’m afraid of going to college and being a loser,” said Fitzloff. “I’m also always really scared of getting in another car accident. We were T-boned two doors up from my house last year, and the car rolled over with my brother and I in the car.”
While reflecting on high school, Fitzloff sees four years that have been filled with change and discovery.
“High school wasn’t really what I thought it would be. When I got here freshman year, I didn’t know anybody. Now I look back at how many people I have known and been friends with, and that’s all changed now,” she explains. “I thought it would be harder to make friends but it wasn’t at all.”
As her last year of high school comes to a close, Fitzloff sees herself taking advantage of as many future opportunities as possible.
“I’m not sure what in business I want to do yet, but I’m excited to get out in the world and figure things out as my own person. High school has been an important step in helping me get to this point,” said Fitzloff.