My name is Joe Wehbe, Co-Author and team leader of the book 18 & Lost? So Were We. Along with Gabby, Byron, Joshua, Tylah, Marvin, Jordan and Scott, we bring to you in this book 8 different stories of people trying to figure out the world after leaving high school.
8 different decision-making processes.
8 different sets of values.
8 different ways of trying to become an adult, and 8 different outcomes.
This book is incredibly personal for me. My experience after high school was terrible — my time at university felt like "six-out-of-ten-life" — not terrible or painful, but just devoid of any real passion, excitement or adventure. It wasn't all the university's fault, and it wasn't all my fault, I simply fell through the cracks. I wasn't self-directed, my university didn't offer much guidance, and so that huge fissure swallowed me up whole.
How many millions fall through these cracks every day? This is what I thought about every time the process of writing the book was getting weary or cumbersome, on cold mornings waking up at 5:30am or over the many long hours of editing.
Who do you know that's young right now? Someone who is 20, 18, or even 16 years old (or younger). How can you be sure that they're not going to fall through the cracks? The thought of that terrifies me. My youngest brother recently turned 19, and I have a cousin who just turned 18 yesterday. What do the years ahead look like for them? I'm not naive enough to think that I can stop them from feeling 'lost' — especially after seeing the 8 stories in our book.
So I share your fears, be they for yourself or those around you. What can we do?
I don't think we can stop people from being lost, but I do believe we can limit the damage and provide a safety net. The first step in providing that safety net is helping people realise they are not alone. People like you and I are there for them — they just need to realise that.
I hope that our book can be a resource for filling this void, by sharing our 8 stories. If you believe in our mission, here are some of the ways you can help us fill this void and serve the young people you care about.