"What are you doing next year?"
Why is such a simple question so despised among most Grade
12 students? Possibly it is because we hear it somewhere around
40 times a day. It seems to be the one question everyone likes
But for most, the answer to the question is just plain scary.
It's a "fear of the unknown" says
Melissa Wieler of Garden Valley Collegiate in Winkler, Manitoba.
Barry White, a grade 12 student in Port Hardy, British Columbia,
says students feel so uncertain about their future "because
the choices they make now will affect their whole life."
Intense pressure to choose a career is coming from society, family,
teachers as well as from the students themselves. If you are
a grade 12 student and not quite certain about your plans, don't
worry! Here's some help. One of Garden Valley Collegiate's guidance
counsellors, Irene Schmidt, has some helpful suggestions for
planning your future.
- Get to Know Yourself: In order to know what you want in life,
you need to know who you are now. Schmidt urges students to discover
their likes and dislikes and determine what's meaningful to them.
It's a process of self research. Most is learned through life
experience, but even at 17 or 18 years of age, you've got enough
experience to know what you might enjoy. Forget the idea of the
'perfect salary'. Instead, imagine the 'perfect job'. What work
would be satisfying for you?
- Find Out Your Options: Talk to people! Ask others what they
like and dislike about their jobs, as well as what schooling
they took to get there. Contact and research schools by phone,
mail or e-mail to discover what's available to you. Make yourself
known to the school of your choice. Send a picture of yourself
so they can put a face to your name.
- Don't See Any Experience as Insignificant: "Nothing
is ever wasted," says Schmidt. "Everything you know
is something you use, or should use." Even if you do make
a school choice that does not benefit you directly, it will still
help you in your walk of life. Even "failures" can
serve you well, if you apply the phrase "learn from your
mistakes." Mistakes can help you relate to others who go
through a similar situation.
- "I Can Learn It": You can learn anything you want
(within reason -- of course). Some students are too lazy or afraid
to step over the edge to try something new. The key to success
is persistence, and knowing how to work for what you want.
Our future does not have to be unknown or approached with
fear. If we get to know ourselves, explore our options, see our
options as dynamic, and believe that we can learn what is needed,
then we can answer the dreaded question with confidence.