Looking Forward to Life After High School
For many of us, the high school years were an important time in our lives. In high school, you may have formed lifelong bonds and developed close friendships. Maybe you were involved with extracurricular activities such as sports, cheerleading and marching band that taught you life lessons about teamwork, setting goals and perseverance. Grades nine to twelve also represented a volatile time given puberty, social pressures and other changes. Although this time period shapes many of us into the adults we ended up being, there’s so much more to life than high school.
For many students, going directly to college to pursue a bachelor's degree is a good move. Certain career fields such as medicine, law and engineering require a Bachelors’ before completing advanced study or licensure. Not only is college necessary to secure a degree, but it’s also a great place to meet new people and be exposed to new ideas and perspectives. If you’re mentally ready for college, you may find have to extend yourself and acquire new skills to keep up with the rigors of your field of study. Many students learn how to be responsible for themselves as their parents aren’t around to make sure they go to class, complete assignments and study for exams.
Taking a Year Off
As someone with eventual college plans, you may have asked yourself, “Should I take a gap year?” More college-bound seniors are taking a year off or a gap year before starting school. Gap years provide you an opportunity to travel, work or even take enrichment courses that can enhance your experience at school. Many colleges and universities regard gap years favorably, as they provide students an opportunity to mentally prepare for the independence and sense of responsibility that undergraduate studies require.
For many students, college is not the right move after high school. There are many high-paying trade jobs that don’t require degrees, but vocational training instead. Careers that are hands-on often require high skills that can be learned in trade school, which is often significantly less expensive than four-year colleges and universities. Positions such as plumber, electrician, etc. often have a great return on investment because they yield relatively high paying jobs right out of school. These careers are also in high demand in most places.
Joining the Workforce
Not every rewarding career requires a degree or vocational training. Jobs in sales for example are often based on commission and an entry level position can be easily secured. There are several career options that require virtually no education or training. Some of these jobs either provide on-the-job training or picking up skills by working under the guidance of more experienced employees. Are you a go-getter? A career as a real estate agent might be a good fit for you.
Working as a Creative
Are you an artist or a writer? Do you like creating things for the public to enjoy? Working as an independent creative person may not have the dollars rolling in steadily, but the work can be fulfilling. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, you may come up with something that is incredibly popular that launches your career into the stratosphere. If you’re a writer, you may build a following by having a blog. Having a group of loyal followers can springboard into bigger opportunities. Consider starting a podcast or a YouTube channel if you have a passion for a particular area of interest.
Are you an inventor or do you see a particular need that you can fill for customers or other businesses? Many of the world’s most successful people invented something or a particular service that meets a very popular need. While college and post-secondary education may be useful in enterprise, there are entrepreneurs who never earned a degree who have parlayed an idea into a successful business.
While high school is a special time in your life, it shouldn’t be the peak of your life. You have your life as an adult ahead of you to provide you life lessons that can take you far. Whether you’re the popular kid or not, there’s so much more to look forward to.