At some point we all think about the freedom of a life after school. What it would be like to have no homework, not having to wear a uniform and not coming to the same concrete walls every day of the week, with a pending countdown to the last day of year 12? What it will be like as an adult in the “real” world?
This excitement can quickly be overshadowed by the confusion that comes with not knowing what to do after school. With so many options today, how do we know what to choose? Whose advice do we listen to when we’re bombarded by information on the internet, from schools and from the people around us? But at the same time no one actually hands you a manual telling you what to do! Where do we look and what do we choose?
So, you’re left to make all the big decisions for yourself. Will I go straight on to study? What and where will I study? Should I get a job? What kind of job would I do? Maybe I’ll just pack up and travel? But where to first?
Let me tell you that if your intention is good, there is no wrong choice. Keep lunging forward in whatever you feel to be the right direction at that time and keep making your life interesting. You may think this sounds wofty, but if you can make this your motto - things will unfold just as they should.
Here are three quick tips to help you nut out what to choose.
1. UNDERSTAND YOUR CHOICES
Explore all of the possibilities!
These range from applying to universities, private colleges and vocational training, to looking at alternative options such as online free courses or traineeships. Taking a year off to travel or jumping straight into the workforce. Maybe you’ve always wanted to create your own project, whether it be a personal physical challenge or starting an online venture. Each having their own advantages and opportunities.
Research, research, research.
Some ideas where to search so you can better understand your choices:
- The Internet
- Friends or family members working in your field of interest or those who’ve been where you are looking to go
- Current teachers or school career advisers
- People from the schools you’re thinking of attending
- Informal web forums
- Blog posts
- Institutional websites
- Open days
2. SELECT THE TOP 10 CHOICES THAT INTEREST YOU
After you've done as much research as you can, list down the top options that interest you.
Don’t place all your focus on working towards a fixed job. It’s likely to evolve as you progress. Just list down the top ten choices that you’ve found to be the most interesting or exciting.
That said, it’s still useful to have a broad sense of what you want to do. For example working in the field of science or design. With some sense of direction, the overall experience of studying, travelling or working will feel more meaningful and worthwhile.
When you enrol in a course that interests you, work in a job where you can learn and grow or visit a country where you can explore a new way of living - specific areas will excite you along the way, ultimately guiding you to a path that is right for you.
3. NOW DREAM BIG & TAKE YOUR INTERESTS SERIOUSLY
From your list of the top ten paths, choose the one that most excites you. Don't try to look too far into the future. It doesn't matter if this doesn't turn out to be perfect. We're not expected to work this out straight out of the school gate. Many people change their pathways various times throughout their lives.
What's important right now, is that this will be the right decision for you NOW if it excites you. Remember nothing that we learn is wasted. So jump in and start exploring – whichever path you decide to take. Don't procrastinate with trying to make the perfect decision. You'll soon learn if you really do enjoy the path you’ve picked - and if you do great. If you don't, move on to try out the next one on your list!
For more tips and advice on deciding what to do after high school - the full book, 'Finding Your Path- A guide to life and happiness after school' is available online on Amazon and Kindle or at a store near you. http://www.findingyourpathbooks.com/
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