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10-09 The School of Hard Knocks: Choosing a life path

The School of Hard Knocks: Choosing a life path

For teenagers in college, an outdated mindset of passing classes and getting a degree without any extra considerations in between can have drastic impacts on their job search after graduation. Furthermore, many teens may not have a conception of what they want out of a career or what career direction they want to pursue. By reconstructing how students view their education and how it relates to their future career, they can pursue a number of helpful strategies for finding the most-suitable life path.

Finding personal direction after college is the conundrum that a growing generation of Americans face and the problem that Ari King seeks to address in his book, “Now What?! Conversations about College, Graduation, and the Next Step.”

In a statement summarizing one of his publication’s various points, King said, “In high school, there is a certain formula that is ingrained in our heads: get good grades, take lots of AP classes, do community service, run for student council, play sports, do well on SAT/ACT… all to prepare for, and get into, college. However, once the diploma is in your hands, the final exams are taken, and the last goodbyes are said on campus, there is no blueprint for what comes next.”

King is only one of many college graduates who have collected experiential wisdom from their years as students and presented it to aspiring adolescents furthering their education. Overall, some of the most helpful advice and strategies for future job seekers include:

  • A degree does not define one’s options: Although schools make clear lines between majors and try to target students in a specific direction, degrees can be applied into fields outside of their usual scope and some employers focus more on hands-on experience rather than one’s educational background.
  • Internships are always a strong addition to a resume: Not only do these positions give a student an idea of what an actual occupational experience will entail, but it is a huge benefit for employers if they do not have to spend extra time and effort training a prospective employee. Even if internships are not available, ask to shadow someone who has an appealing job.
  • It’s who a person knows, rather than what he or she knows: A skill that universities rarely instill is the idea of networking. Building professional relationships with professors or experts in the field a student is interested in can bring him or her closer to possible leads or recommendations when a job opening arises.
  • Use available campus resources: Another commonly overlooked tool is the campus’ career center or career counselor. The whole purpose of having these professionals at school is to assist students with their job-related queries, including what skills and steps are necessary to obtain the occupation they desire. They can even help direct someone down a career path where they can best apply their skills.

It is also important to open your mindset to new experiences and try things without a fear of failure. A student needs to experience a bit of trial and error in order to narrow down his or her possible life paths. Sometimes the stress of choosing a self-defining career can lead to a serious anxiety disorder or even substance abuse. If you or your teen needs professional care, contact Sovereign Health Rancho San Diego at or online to learn about accessible and customizable treatment options.

The School of Hard Knocks: Achieving a balance between professional and personal time

Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer

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