There are so many possibilities. Luckily right here in Pittsburgh are amazing training programs, apprenticeships, trade school, a community college, and four-year colleges. All possibilities can lead to a happy future with a good career.
Whether you are or not you realize it, your student is constantly observing the world around them, taking in information, noticing patterns, and trying to consider what they might be interested in when they graduate.It is not important that a specific job title is identified. It is more important to recognize your student for who they are and know that there are A LOT of ways to earn a very good income with or without attending college.
How can you help?
Talk Talk Talk
Put it on the calendar every few months and more often the older your student is.
Tell them about a wide variety of careers by sharing what folks do in your family, extended family, neighbors, church or community members. drawing their attention to people enacting different jobs and ask what they think about that job. This is just to get the conversation going. Be curious about their reactions. It is VERY important at this stage to listen to understand and not listen to respond. Get a notebook and keep it for all these conversations. Write down reactions. At this stage they might be simplistic like, “Driving a school bus would be so fun seeing kids every day” or “I would never want to have to get up that early to start work”
Think and act
What do you already know about your student? What academic and athletic clubs are they in?
Believe it or not you already know a lot about them and now it’s time to think about how to enlighten them and model self-awareness. Asking questions and encouraging them to begin to talk about themselves in terms of skills and interests will be very helpful. What electives are they picking in school? Are they active in school or do they prefer to come home after school and play video games and just relax? Do they need to be active constantly? Do they play an instrument or live at the basketball court? Maybe academics are hard for them but they can already fix things around the house and have other interests.
Start individual pages in the journal. One page for Skills, one for Interests, one for Values, and one for Personality. As you continue your talks, jot things down on these pages. Helping your student learn about themselves in this way will be helpful. Ask them to share with you what assessments they have taken already in school. Many students will actually have access to this information. If they don’t, send an email to their guidance counselor.
Nudge them to try new things to see if they like it. Even when the time comes, picking a summer job can lend itself a lot of information about the experience. The main thing is to keep the conversation going.
Take it one step at a time
You have all heard that Rome wasn’t built in a day. So, commit to the process and know that it is a process. Yes, there are some adults that said they knew what they wanted to be as early as they can remember but honestly, those folks are few and far between. Keep the conversations going. Keep looking for experiences that will offer insight and information. Allow your student to try and fail and try again. Work hard at your own influences or reactions. Use community and educational resources to help in the journey. Have fun along the way. If you aren’t stressed and worried, this will help calm any fears about their future they may already have. Remember to share that they might have many many different jobs or career or find one true passion and either choice is the best. Living their best life and one that is a true extension of who they are is all anyone can want for a loved one.