Hello, I would just like to begin this by saying if you seek actual help, I am not the person to ask. I barely got by as it is, but what I can tell you is who to go to. When I was in my last year of high school, reality finally set in. And that reality was, I wasn’t as smart as I was always led to believe. This is coming from someone who had constant 4.0’s aka Straight A’s and such her whole life until all of a sudden, school just got harder and no matter how hard I tried, it wouldn’t click. I lied to myself until Grade 11/Junior Year but it was my last year before “entering the real world” and I had to face the music. So I set up an appointment with my guidance counselor and it was the best thing I ever did.
Now I guess this might differ for everyone but the counselor I got knew the exact things to say. So if you don’t get the proper treatment I did with your counselor, you can just refer to this because I memorized just about everything she told me that day.
The first thing she said was “Before you say anything, I am just going to pull up your transcript and guess why you came here today.” Just by looking at my grades she saw that I was (just your typical Asian) trying to get into the Sciences but I didn’t have the grades to show for it. She saw that my highest marks were English, Social Studies, etc. And just through that she knew that I was heading to a place where I was forcing myself to go into.
And that is my first tip. Don’t force yourself into something you won’t enjoy. Especially for a teenager, we are indecisive. We can’t even choose a place to eat, let alone decide our future? So I say if you are feeling forced, for example by your family, don’t do it. Stand your ground. Yes, the feeling of their disappointment towards you is gonna suck, majorly. I know that firsthand. But at the end of the day, it is your future here. Not theirs.
After that, she asked why I never tried to get into the non-Science field and the answer was; they simply don’t make as much money. And no matter who you ask, you know this fact is true. So again she looked at the courses I took and luckily, I took at least most if not all recommended base subjects to get into almost anything in post-secondary.
My mom has always told me that I would do really well in Law. Now this might have been sarcasm, because she only said this whenever I got into trouble. She said that I always had a counterargument for everything. But whenever she said it, it did always peak my interest.
I knew that I couldn’t go to court, so my counselor reminded me that law wasn’t just strictly lawyers. She suggested becoming a paralegal and even printed out the various colleges and universities I could go to.
But I still wasn’t sure. So my second tip, is don’t be afraid to take some time off. I took a year off. I guess I was already kind of set on the paralegal thing, but I wasn’t ready. Let me tell you why there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a gap year, you can save money. You can even earn money because while most people are going to school, you’re guaranteed a job for having an open availability. I have seen people go to university, the expensive ones and dropped midway realizing it wasn’t what they wanted. Some even moved away and moved back. Their parents were upset, of course but they just weren’t in it anymore.
Another tip in the midst of having a set plan one second and having nothing the other is to surround yourself with people who completely and utterly support you. These are the people you’ll need the most. You need encouragement in the transition to help you not feel like a failure. And they are also the ones who ask mirror questions to make you realize what you truly want and try to come up with an attainable plan. People who support you don’t just constantly say “yeah you’re definitely right, yeah everything you do is the right way.” People who are honestly there for you will call you out when it seems like what you’re going for isn’t what’s best for you. They do it for your own good.
Another bonus if you made friends with people older than you. Another tip is to try and seek out people who have gone through a year or two after high school and ask them what their experience was like. Some completely drop out and find successful jobs, others are still in university, others are just starting. Everyone is different and that’s good. Through them you can get a glimpse a year or two into the future without having to go there yourself. I’ve had so many people to go to and I can honestly say that they have helped tremendously.
Like I said, this might not be any help for anyone, but I just want my experience to help others. I’ve had people in lower grades come to me for these things and they have been thankful. Planning out your future is terrifying especially when you feel like you’re on your own with tons of people breathing down your neck. But you aren’t. There are people like you everywhere. You just gotta seek them out.
Then, the planning no longer seems so scary. Instead, you actually find yourself looking forward to what’s coming ahead.