It's a time for prom and Friday night football, for band camps and, maybe, a first kiss.
But according to a new Gallup poll, high school is also a time for pessimism about the future. In a poll of more than 800,000 public high school students, fewer than half strongly agreed with the statement that they'll find a good job after they graduate.
The data shows a different story for kids in younger grades: 68 percent of 5th graders strongly agreed with the same statement.
But as a "good job" changes from wanting to be a "professional athlete" or a "ballerina" to a "lawyer" or an "accountant," well, teens get nervous — with a particularly steep drop in confidence among girls.
And at some level, it's hard to blame them: Although the job market is recovering, these kids grew up amid one of the worst stretches of unemployment in American history.
And in an economy where a college education is more necessary than ever, the cost of that education is skyrocketing. U.S. News & World Report says that since 2003, inflation has increased by about 26 percent, while college tuition has increased by about 79 percent over the same period.
So, are the high schoolers onto something? Recent research suggests they are. A recent LinkedIn survey found only a quarter of Americans end up in the fields they dreamed about as kids.
This video includes images from Getty Images.