For a high school student getting ready to finish their last year of school, several factors begin to bring pressure for the future. Some of the pressure comes from the decision to go to college (choice of college, field of study, financial responsibility) or to get a job (companies hiring high school graduates, competitive salary, benefits). For students that are first generation, the pressure to attend college fluctuates as some families realize the value of higher education; however, have not traveled that path, so they cannot offer any assistance. On the other hand, some students never consider college as the avenue for a better future because their family has not encouraged them to take that route. Either way, the pressure of the future and what it will entail becomes reality in the last months of high school.
As a freshmen in college, students choose their major based on their friends, their interest, blind choice, and what they have heard about. The key for any student, whether they are in high school or already freshmen in college is to assess several factors; after all, no one wants to waste time preparing for a future that they will end up becoming bored with or failing in. Choosing a college major can be done based on academic interest or career choice. If a student knows that they are interested in, they are able to select a major and then choose careers aligned with that major. On the other hand, if they know what career they want to do, they can pick their major based on the career they want. Below are some methods to help make a more educated decision about the future.
Interest: As a child we have interest and those interests drive our motivation to continue to learn. If we are interested in music, we want to learn to play an instrument, sing, or dance. If we are interested in helping others, we try to get involved in Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, health science, veterinarian, playing doctor or nurse. In time, our interest might change, but we must remember the times that we have been most passionate about something because that will drive our motivation to learn, which aligns with school subjects, majors, and a career. Take a Career Interest Survey and assess your interest to find out what career cluster your fall under.
Personality: Our personality is who we are, our perspective, character traits, strengths, and weaknesses. If we show care and concern for others, attentive to feelings, and offer support and encouragement, those traits all play a role in career choice. Some individuals are analytically driven, natural born leaders, and idea generators. Those traits play an important role in career choice. To take a personality test, you can visit http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp and use the Jung Typology Test to find out your personality type. Once you do, visit http://www.personalitypage.com/html/careers.html to read a summary of your career traits and career profiles based on your personality type.
Values System: From a child we learn what is important in life. We learn to value family, religion, ethics, achievement, money, health, etc. Our environment contributes to our values system, so it is vital that when choosing a major and ultimately a career; we must assess our individual values system. If a person values family time, they will need to look for careers that do not have “on-call” schedules, non-traditional work hours. This will allow them to make soccer games, family gatherings, and continue family traditions. On the other hand, if someone values financial prosperity, their major and career choice must be aligned with high paying salaries. To assess your values system, visit http://www.cvs.k12.mi.us/careers/pdfs/LIFE%20VALUES%20INVENTORY%205_01_08_1%20(2).pdf
Planning the future is not an easy task, and there are people that work 15, 20, 30 years in a job; unhappy, not completely satisfied, seeking more, yet staying where they are because they do not know what else they would be doing. By using the methods listed above, we, as a society, can effectively assess ourselves, become more self-aware and choose careers that we thrive in. We can help motivate the youth in our community to pursue their passion, attend college, graduate, and choose a career that brings ultimate satisfaction to them. Everything will have a purpose and fit. We must be more intentional with our decision making skills.