High School. FINALLY made it there, and there’s so much going on and so many changes happening, and so many new people….. it’s easy to get overwhelmed and sidetracked about what’s really important. Not to mention the fact that many of the things you’re thinking and thoughts and emotions you’re feeling are normal for your age. It’s biology, it’s brain development, it’s a stage of growth and that’s awesome! BUT…
Don’t want to put a damper on your good time, but before you know it you’ll be a senior and you’ll be moving on to adulthood and getting down to what you’re going to do once you graduate high school. You need a plan, and it would be great if you could look back over the past 4 years and know that you spent some time thinking about what you’ll be doing once you graduate, and knowing that you did a lot of the right things to prepare you to get there.
What Does that Mean?
- Don’t slack on school work and your grades. Even if you’re unsure about college now, you may totally have a different view about that when you’re a junior a senior, and it WILL matter that you failed or did lousy in classes when you were in 9th and 10th grade. It could cause you to not get into the college that you had your heart set on. So definitely have fun during your high school years, but not at the expense of your grades.
- Get extra help. If you’re struggling with a class or subject, GET HELP! It makes a huge difference and it shows your teachers that you’re putting in the effort and are working hard. When it comes time for your final grade it may very well push you into the next grade up if you’re on the cusp.
- Take advantage of clubs, groups, extracurricular activities, volunteering, community service, school trips, and everything else that your high school offers. During high school people often start expressing their uniqueness and this is a great time to explore new ideas, hang out with people who enjoy the same things that you do, meet new people, have fun experiences because before you know it (ie. adulthood) you’ll be working hard to make a future and make a living.
- Don’t take sports so seriously (if you’re into that). Play because you love it, not because you think you’re going to get a college scholarship or make the pros. Sorry people, but here are some facts from the NCAA:
While an athletic career is certainly achievable for a privileged few, the harsh reality is 99.883% of high school athletes who participate in sports, will have to find ways to make a living outside of sports.
- Start your resume in 9th grade. Definitely doesn’t have to be 1st quality and ready to ship out at a moment’s notice, but keep track of all of the activities you do, paid and unpaid work that you participate in, and experiences you have. Call it the “kitchen sink” resume, and everything goes in it because it’s so easy to forget the details when you really need them for an actual job application/resume years down the road. This way you can pick and choose the info you want to put in your internship or job resume when that time comes.
- Make smart (LEGAL) choices! Not trying to be glass half empty here but it’s easy to think nothing bad is going to happen to you. Getting arrested can be a huge obstacle to your future plans, and you may not even know what those will be yet. Don’t jeopardize a career that could be perfect for you because you have a police record, even if it is for something that you may not think is a big deal.
- Open your mind and start thinking about what you like/love to do and what you’re good at. The plan should be to take that information and turn it into a career because you will be successful if you “Do what you love and love what you do”. Explore lots of ideas and then explore the career paths that are connected to those ideas. If you’re at a loss about how to do that, talk to your parent, guidance counselor, career counselor, teacher or other adult that can help steer you in the right direction. There ARE people out there who can help you so if the 1st person you ask is a bust, keep looking until you find someone who knows what’s up.
- If you’re stuck, definitely take Idea2Career’s free “Nail Your Strengths…” course that you can find here.
- Be kind. Yup that’s right, I said it. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” – Plato.