SHS Student Mika Cronin charts her own path

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SHS Student Mika Cronin charts her own path

Mika Cronin in Israel. Photo taken By Roni Pegel.

Mika Cronin in Israel. Photo taken By Roni Pegel.

Mika Cronin in Israel. Photo taken By Roni Pegel.

Mika Cronin in Israel. Photo taken By Roni Pegel.

Melissa Ellin, Editor In Chief

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While most SHS students are thinking about college, Solon High School (SHS) senior Mika Cronin has chosen a different path. After graduation, Cronin plans on taking a gap year. The first half of which she’ll spend working, and the second half, she’ll spend traveling. Specifically, she said she was looking into a program called Leap Year, so she could go to Namibia and help the community. She’s also interested in Namibia as a destination because she can participate in extreme sports (her favorite being rock climbing) during her free time, but she hasn’t finalized which place or program she’ll pursue.

SHS science teacher and Cronin’s former teacher Matthew Kirk believes Cronin’s gap year plan is the way to go.

“I really like the idea of a gap year, particularly if a student uses that time to both work and travel,” Kirk said. “That helps to give someone a larger perspective of what the world is like. High school can be very insular, almost like an echo chamber that reinforces only what is around us. Seeing the world, working a steady job, all help to make someone more informed as to what life is like.”

Cronin will use the money she earns working to pay for her trip. That is of course, if she gets her green card. Her freshman year, Cronin relocated from Holland to Solon. In the Netherlands she wasn’t able to receive citizenship due to length of stay–it takes a long time to acquire citizenship–which is also the reason she hasn’t gotten her citizenship in the US. She’s currently here on her dad’s Visa.

She does however have citizenship in England and Israel.

“For England, my dad’s british, and I’m half british, so I think that’s [why I have citizenship there], and I have a British passport and everything,” Cronin said. “[Also], I used that [passport] to travel around Europe when I lived in Holland. I also was born in Israel, so I’m an Israeli citizen. Those are my two citizenships that I have. In Holland, we didn’t live long enough to get a citizenship.”

“Basically, I need to get a green card, and we’ve been in the process of waiting for [about] three years now,” Cronin said. “Hopefully, I’m supposed to get it this year, so my entire plan after high school depends on this. If I don’t get it, nothing works out for me, which sucks. Hopefully I get that soon, and only then I can work.”

If her green card doesn’t arrive, she has a back up plan. She’d leave the US for England, but her plans would stay relatively the same. She’d take her gap year, work and travel during this time, then go to college and plan her career path, simply with a different home base.

If she does get her green card, after her gap year, Cronin will on return to Solon, join the United States National Guard and go to an Ohio college. The National Guard pays for in-state tuition, so she would go to college while being a member. This benefit is only a small factor in her reasons for entering the organization. What drew her to the National Guard was her love of adventure and passion for helping others.

“I’m… a little nervous she wants to join the National Guard, but I wasn’t surprised about it since she knows defending and protecting people is pretty much what she was born for,” said Emily Livshits, a SHS senior and Cronin’s friend. “I’m nervous for her because of safety, but I have no doubt she’s gonna be great. She was made for stuff like this.”

Cronin explained that because she no longer lives in Israel where the army is compulsory after high school graduation, the National Guard will give her a similar experience.

“[When I was in Israel, I knew I’d have to join the army], and my parents told me about it after we moved as well, and they’ve both done it, [because they’re from Israel], and it’s such a good experience,” Cronin said. “Honestly, I would have been really happy if I would have done it. This is also part of the reason why I want to join the National Guard, because I know there will be some type of military [work] that I would be doing.”

Although she has a plan, Cronin admitted that it’s weird to see everyone applying for college, and it’s even daunting knowing she won’t have the school to help her out when it’s her time to apply. With her parents help though, she’s confident she’ll manage the feat.

In fact, what’s stranger for her, is the amount of her peers going to college. She said the majority of her friends in Holland are taking a gap year, and in Europe overall, gap years are more popular than in the US.

Cronin isn’t sure what she wants to major in when she reaches college, but she does know that she wants to help people and communities.

Additionally, Cronin divulged that she has a “seven year plan” that extends far beyond the next seven years.

“I have this weird goal because up until now, it’s been a pattern, seven years [in Israel], seven years [in Holland] and I want to keep that pattern,” Cronin said. “Seven years here, and then I move somewhere else. I feel like that would be pretty cool.”

Regardless of the plan, Cronin will continue traveling. She will change her home base every seven years, but she won’t necessarily stay there the whole time.

Cronin isn’t certain which country she’ll spend her next seven year stretch in. Out of the country, and not in Israel or Holland, but she’s got a whole year to think about it, and wherever Cronin’s travels take her, she’ll have support along the way.

“I’m really happy that she found something she wants to do and has a goal,” Livshits said. “Some people’s [opinions on success] are different, but I think it’s unique and not all paths to success are the same.”

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