As a teacher and counsellor, one of my main responsibilities is to always offer whatever level of service and guidance that I can to young adults who constantly struggle to choose the right career path that best suits their personal life goals and interests (and in some cases, their dreams).
Of course, it always helps that I went through a very similar process myself.
Like many before me and many since, I too went through my own personal version of a mid-twenties crisis, where I strenuously deliberated on the next major step in my pursuit of a career worthy of a modern-day adult.
As a proud member of ‘Generation X’ (a book written by Douglas Copeland that I regularly read through when I was in my early twenties), I wrestled with what few career options were actually available (and of interest) to me at that time.
In retrospect, I definitely took the ‘hard road’ by choosing to by-pass College and University and venture straight out of high school and into the workforce. Due to unexpected events in my life (read my bio at www.mrjamesryan.com) and poor planning throughout my high school years, I continuously felt the pressure of being an academic under-achiever.
The difficulties that I experienced in securing a career began to compound as each year passed. On so many occasions, I had applied for jobs that I knew that I would be very well suited for, but like so many times before, I lacked the minimum academic requirements to apply.
Sometimes however, I would apply anyway, hoping to at least get an interview which would most certainly provide me with the opportunity to demonstrate my interpersonal and communication skills, but alas, the interviews never came.
It wasn’t until many years later that I finally conceded and went back to a local community College where I attended classes on a part-time basis while working a full-time job throughout the day (and raising two kids at night). After two years, I finally graduated and secured the ever-elusive college diploma.
Admittedly, when I started my re-education process, I was a bit cynical about what good achieving and obtaining that “little piece of paper to hang on my wall” could do for me. What I didn’t anticipate was that I would fall in love with learning for the very first time.
College allowed me the opportunity to grow in ways that high school never provided. In high school, I lacked maturity and I failed to recognize the benefits or see the value in what I was supposed to be learning (to be honest, I’m still not a big fan of Shakespeare).
If I had one recommendation to make to “Generation Y’ (the Media term for people born between the years 1980 and 1995), it would be this: do not stay in school for the sake of staying in school, but rather, make the most of your time while you are there. Pick something of interest and dedicate yourself to being the best that you can be.
Not sure what you want to do with your life? That’s okay. Constructively spend your time figuring it out.
Try volunteering (and not just the short amount of time mandated by high schools). It’s an excellent way to explore and gain new experiences in your life. It’s also a great way to give back to your community. A ‘win-win’ in the eyes of any potential employer.
You say you have a desire to get into radio broadcasting? Great! Volunteer your time at a local radio station reading news to the blind (www.voiceprintcanada.com). When you finally register at a College, you will have the experience and know-how to be successful.
You desperately want to become a physical education teacher? Great! Volunteer as a physical activity advisor within your local municipality (example: http://www.regional.niagara.on.ca/living/health_wellness/physicalactivity/paa.aspx). Far better to find out now if it’s something that you’re going to enjoy before spending several years of your life and thousands of dollars at a University.
Opportunities to learn are everywhere. All you need to do is give a little bit of your time and effort. A pretty good trade if you ask me.