You often hear that high school years are the best years of your life. And while it may be true for some, high school is just the beginning of your long and beautiful journey. It is also a time of anxiety and fear of the unknown. This is the time when students start wondering what possible career paths they want to pursue and, typically, feel tremendous pressure to find themselves. But students often do not know where to begin. What steps do you need to take to become a doctor? How do you get into prestigious colleges? What education do you need to become an artist? Forewarned is forearmed, so this is why high school years should be used to explore and research possibilities and options you have before you. Taking the time to explore your options will give you a peace of mind and help you prepare for what is waiting for you after high school.

Start Exploring Your Career Options

Do you know what you want to do when you grow up? You have probably been asked this question many times throughout your young life. But how do you come to the decision to pursue one career over another? When you are young, every decision and choice seems like a life commitment. This kind of burdensome pressure can be easily eliminated.

If you are lucky, you might realize what you want to do intuitively. Perhaps you instinctively knew why you wanted to be a doctor or an engineer, but most of us require some time and experience to figure out our calling. This is why it’s a good idea to start exploring careers and opportunities in high school. Many schools offer unpaid work placements and workshops to experience professions like construction, engineering, medicine, and more. You can also try getting involved in an after-school or summer program that will help you develop new skills in journalism, environmental sciences, theatre, archeology, and more. Use these opportunities to find out what kind of work you enjoy, what skills you wish to develop, and what kind of environment you like in a workplace.

Choose a College for You

Many young people also face the dread of choosing a college and a program. And again, this decision seems so final, so huge! While college is not a requirement for a successful professional life, it can help you develop expertise and skills useful for the workplace. Keep in mind that college is a necessary step if you want to pursue academic careers and well-respected professional careers such as law, medicine, business, and so on.

Choosing a college that is right for you takes a lot of research. To have the best chance of a successful match between yourself and your chosen program, you must explore what kind of academic experiences are valued by your program, which activities tend to be accepted by your preferred school, and what opportunities are available when you graduate. Don’t forget to explore your program’s curriculum and faculty, as these can be used to plan if there is a niche field within your discipline that you want to pursue in honor’s thesis or potentially grad school.

Use high school years to research post-secondary educational institutions, plan applications, and continue to gain valuable experiences.

Continue with Extracurriculars

Activities outside of academia can be a really great way to take your mind off of your responsibilities and decisions.

You might already participate in some activities which you have joined in childhood, and this is great! Long-term commitments to extracurriculars show your dedication, expertise, and passion. These qualities are always valued by employers and colleges. However, you can always expand your horizon by joining activities that will help you develop new skills. For example, if you want to develop communication skills, compassion, and patience, then you might want to get some experience in clinical settings. These will be useful for students looking to apply to medical professions, such as nursing, physician assistantship, and so on. But this experience will also help students looking to work in customer service, education, and management. So, try to keep an open mind when you look for volunteer opportunities and try your hand in a variety of experiences!  

Conclusion: Enjoy the Process

Enjoy your high school years! This is the time to experiment in academics and extracurriculars, find your interests, make connections, and, most importantly, make mistakes. Setbacks and failures are natural parts of life from which we must learn. Having a bad public speaking at a student conference experience will not make you less successful in the future. Simply take note that you should maybe practice your public speaking skills and try joining another activity. If you did not like public speaking, you might enjoy one-on-one tutoring with a younger student or an activity that does not require much verbal communication at all, such as volunteering in a humane society.

Let the unknown motivate you to try different activities and let yourself be exposed to new experiences!