“The problem is our kids— like some of us— end up making career choices to impress other people for a fleeting, and false, feeling of validation. In the process, we lose sight of what makes us truly happy and successful.”
One of the most frustrating questions for high school juniors and seniors is, “what do you want to do when you grow up?” Determining a career path is a difficult process that is often left up to unreliable means such as chance, relying on what one is good at as a teenager, or a direction suggested or imposed on them by someone else. But how many adults have used this method and are still saying at age 35 or 40, “I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do!”
Is relying on one of four core subjects in school really the best method to determine a career path that will influence the next 40+ years of their life?
The workforce has changed substantially, but our...
I remember Mary walking into my office. She appeared calm and relaxed, while her son, Michael, was visibly stressed. Mary shared her goals for her son with many specific details: top three colleges to which he should apply, the major he should study, the type of career he should plan for, and the list of pressing items to be handled so everything else could fall into place. I understood her desire to ensure her son had all of the opportunities he deserved or wanted. I appreciated that she had researched schools and the college application process. But, I also felt concerned for Michael’s immediate future.
Throughout the conversation with his mother, I noticed him slump further and further in the chair, the web of his hand cradling his forehead as he gazed into his lap. I see this often, as parents wanting the best and imagining their children living a better life than they did, become the directors while children are merely actors.
We often wish our kids showed more...
One of the goals of high school is to prepare students for the “next level” of education, but the reality is that the "next level" is different for everyone. Not all careers begin with a 4-year degree. Some require a post-graduate degree (which means more than 4 years!), or maybe a 2-year degree, technical or trade school, apprenticeships, or none of the above! The question becomes, how do you decide what kind of school or training you should pursue?
You work backwards!
So many students assume that the next step for them is applying to college at a 4-year school, when they should really be thinking about what they ultimately want to do with their lives. By choosing a career end goal, a student can piece out what steps they need to take in between where they are now and where they want to be.
Your child has been asked this question since they could talk. And while their answers may have changed from the princess, dinosaur,...
Your child needs to think about how they want their life to look after college. What values are important to them? What skills do they have? What’s their vision? We really encourage students to think about what their days will look like in a chosen career path.
Let’s say you want to help people and think you want to be a nurse. Are you up for night shifts or missing holidays? Are you ready to do what nurses are required to do? Is that the life you envisioned? If not, there are many other ways to help people.
Being able to experience careers before choosing a path and going to college is the best way to know. Due to budget cuts, a lot of high schools don’t have this opportunity in their everyday high school classes. There are so many options, but without exposure, children usually know the big careers (doctor, lawyer, etc.) and the ones held by those around...