Advice for High School Seniors or those recently graduated
I can remember my anxiety creeping up on me after I sent all my applications and final grades to five colleges. Three main questions haunted my thoughts:
- What if I don’t get in?
- How the heck am I going to afford this?
- What am I even going to study?
I will cover the first two points in separate posts. For now, we will focus on number 3.
“What the heck do I wanna do in life?”
As a junior in college now, I can safely say the majority of people do not know the answer to this question even right now. Most people have loose ideas of what they want to be doing in five years but nothing specific.
As a senior in high school back in 2013, I did not believe that. I thought everybody had their lives together and knew exactly where they wanted to be in the future. So I joined the charade and told everybody that I was going to be in manufacturing engineering when I graduated. They did make a lot of money I told myself, really how hard could it be? My freshman year of college sucked. There is no other way around it. From my roommate, insane curriculum, and bad food: I was ready for a change. But I was still just as lost with my career path.
Community College is Seriously Okay!
Cost – I spent slightly over 20,000 dollars during my freshman year studying a subject I was not interested in at all. I spent 6,000 dollars during my sophomore year at community college studying various subjects to find out what I was interested in. Most people spend only 3,367 dollars for an entire year according to College Board. If you get your associates degree from a community college, you will save on average 12,000 dollars compared to a normal four-year school.
Variety of classes – Since classes are cheaper, you can freely choose to take whichever courses you feel you might be interested in. In normal four-year schools, every class matters because you are paying so much where as in community college, you can see which subjects you like or dislike at a relatively low cost.
Class size – In community college, you are guaranteed to have smaller classes compared to regular four year universities or colleges. Community college typically has 25-35 students per class and regular four year institutions have 150-300 students per class in introductory level courses. Although, you can definitely get help in those huge classes, it will be a lot easier to get help if you need it and thus create a personal relationship with your professor.
Reach out to your parents or anybody you know!
When I was younger, I always wanted to become a physician’s assistant and work in the medical field. As a result, I asked my mom (who is an occupational therapist) if I could shadow her PA friend. So I shadowed him and while I enjoyed the experience, I knew I would not want to do that as a career. But, that experience led me to researching the exciting field of marketing and that is when I knew what I wanted to do. So here’s the lesson:
- Your parents typically have a lot of friends or connections that can get you shadowing opportunities to see what day in the life of a certain career looks like all you need to do is ask them for help.
It is worth noting that asking your parents about different careers allows you to hear their story and their journey to where they are now. Hopefully, their story will help alleviate some of your worries.
Do work that brings you happiness and fulfillment
It sounds cliché and Tony Robbins-like but it is the truth. It is a difficult task to actually find work that you enjoy doing but this is the only way to really enjoy the majority of your days. It is difficult to get excited and ready for your day just for your paycheck. If you think back to your first job, chances are you did not like it. But you were young and needed the money. Do you want to continue this cycle? Some people are okay with that, others are not. It is important to find out which person you are. If you are not okay with the rat race, chase the passion not the paycheck.