As graduation season nears, students all over the world start getting excited to finally be out of high school. But behind all the excitement is the soft whisper of worry. These are all common career fears facing young people today, but how can you navigate them?

 

Everyone worries about leaving school and heading on to bigger, scarier things. For high school seniors, the worries can be almost painful. The last two years of high school are, for most, a flurry of academic and social pressures. Big questions to be answered and the only person that can answer them is you. This decision is one that will stick with you forever. Yes, it is possible to make a change, but the initial decision is a crucial one.

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What do I want to study?
You know yourself best. Sit down with a laptop. List a few key personality traits and interests. Research careers that could match those traits.
There’s never a guarantee that circumstances in any career path will be optimal for you, but beyond making a researched, informed, thought-out decision, there’s little to be done.

Where do I want to study?
When choosing a school, look at the specific programs you child want to study, and apply to universities that offer them, as well as others that offer broader opportunities to allow for flexibility later on, if needed. Decide on how many schools you’d like to apply to and pick a few ‘reach’ schools, a few ‘possible’ schools, and a few ‘safety’ schools.
Rankings, while valid metrics in some ways, can be very misleading in others. Don’t let them hold too much weight. University is as much about fit as it is about rigor and rankings. Students are deeply unique, both socially and academically. Your university search process must reflect this.
Indeed, take a step back and think critically about whether university is right in the first place. The educational scramble seems confusing and overwhelming, but university, while suitable for many people, isn’t necessarily for everyone.

Is this the right career for me?
This is a question only you can answer. It may seem like you’re doing well in a certain field, or that you fit in a certain job, but if you’re unhappy it doesn’t matter anymore. Some of the most deeply analytical minds venture into the arts. Musicians and authors transfer into STEM fields.
Definitely consider metrics that will matter in the future like salary, versatility of career paths, and others. Life can take unexpected turns and normally careers aren’t linear at all, instead, winding pathways through which people learn about life, and themselves.
Graduation season brings with it excitement. But it also brings turbulence and stress. The time has come for you to make your own decisions, with the people you love at your side.

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