Being sixteen is easy. You study for tests, sit through band practice, ride the bus home, eat a pop tart, then decide what you want to do for the rest of your life.
There is no doubt that high school students are under a tremendous amount of pressure and stress to decide what they want to do post secondary and how they are going to do it. More often then not, students freak out when they can’t seem to figure out exactly what it is they want to do.
The first thing high school students think about is university. High school has no lack of students scrambling to select their courses, visit universities and studying university course books trying to find the perfect fit for them. There are so many questions that need to be answered. How will you finance it? Have you figured out which scholarships and bursaries will suffice? Will you take honours or Co-op? Are you planning to go to grad school? Are you willing to pay an arm and a leg for residence or spend hours, that seem like days, commuting? Which university will you go to? What program? What major?
Wow. Slow down. Before you have an aneurysm, realize that you don’t have to deal with this all right now. Sit down with some a family member, friend, teacher or guidance counselor and take it one step at a time.
If you have crossed university off your list off things you want to do after high school, what other choices are there?
A popular choice is college. Students can study trades and be ready to start working in three years or less. Become a police officer or even an environmental health specialist and help the world become a better place. College allows you to get your hands dirty and learn in person. Come out a few years later ready to join the work force.
Well, what if you don’t know what you want to do yet? Who knows what you will want to do in three years? Sure you’ll be career ready, but what career?
Consider doing a victory lap. Do another semester of high school to cover your bases and consider more options. Maybe memorizing the thousand steps of mitosis did not inspire you to become a doctor. Try chemistry, math, physics or art. Study something new like music, visual arts, anthropology, ornithology or even biblical studies. You won’t know what you like until you try it.
Perhaps you should take some time off of school to relax and gain experience working and building your resume. Why not enjoy your youth to the fullest? You’ll never get a chance to be sixteen again.
Sometimes it’s overwhelming to try and plan out the next decade of your life. No matter what you chose it is important for students to remember that your choice is never set in stone. Also keep in mind that no decision is perfect, just choose what you think is best out of all your options.
Until you make your decision don’t freak out. Just relax and enjoy that pop tart.