Not sure what to do when you finish high school? Consider these options
Schools out - everybody scream and shout! But wait…what do I do now? Daniella Scotti shares a menu of options to consider after you finish high school.
Ah, the last HSC exam is over. You can virtually taste the freedom. You pack up your bag and exit your school gates for the last time (sayonara!). You’re off to celebrate with your mates and enjoy a well-deserved break.
Fast-forward to 2 months later - an anxiety dawns on you. What am I going to be doing next year? In fact, what am I going to do for the rest of my life?
Some appear to have it all figured out – “I’m going to university to study XYZ”. For some of us (myself included!) deciding what to do was no walk in the park.
Soooooo. . . here are my top 3 post-high school options:
High school, for me, represented routine. A tightly regimented schedule that you either followed or it followed you.
Monday to Friday. Homework at night. Basketball training on Wednesday. Assembly on Thursdays. Same spot in math class. Lunch at 12:30 pm (I could go on and onnnnnn)
While I won’t refute how streamlined this routine was, it didn’t leave much room for self-discovery. That is why I suggest you figure you spend even just 3 months post-high school dedicated to figuring out who you are.
Hone in on your values. What do you tolerate? What are your weaknesses and strengths? The best place to start with these questions is probably to take some personality tests – I suggest this one!
Feeding your soul goes beyond this though, most opt for some travelling. Travelling is BEYOND important. It opens your eyes to different cultures and histories - it is a process of education that doesn’t rely on textbooks or exams.
“Travel makes you modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world” - Gustave Flaubert.
I will add though, travelling doesn’t mean you have to be boarding a plane to Europe, there are endless and money savvy options like backpacking, Contiki, Busabout or set gap year programs.
It doesn’t always have to be aboard as well – there are so many places around this beautiful country we are lucky to call home; Australia.
I do know that travelling can still be expensive, especially if you didn’t have a part-time job throughout high school, so my next best suggestion is finding what you like. If high school didn’t give you much a window to do this, I recommend attending workshops, visiting exhibitions and signing up for day courses.
Eventbrite has bucket loads of these for pretty much everyday of the week. Go out of your comfort zone and try something you’ve always wanted to – you never know, you could end up shaping a career out of it.
MAKE SOME $$$
My new mantra has become – do something that your future self will thank you for. Jumping straight out of high school and into full-time work is one of those things.
Whether it’s a retail, hospitality or administrative job – earning some money can be a great way to get the ball rolling post-high school.
In this time, teach yourself the basics of budgeting and setting up an incentive saver account. Learning financial smarts is something we lack being taught in high school, but you’ll need to know it when you enter full/part-time work.
You can find yourself from learning the ropes at these jobs to sometimes even earning a manager position. There are opportunities everywhere.
LEARN A THING OR TWO
Going onto further education – whether that be a bachelor’s degree at University or vocational training at TAFE is a popular post high school.
If you are set on your career path and know that a degree will be the pre-requisite to getting there, by all means go ahead. HOWEVER, it is also important to understand that university is a huge investment. Too many students go to uni when they aren't ready—academically and emotionally—which could be a possible reason why one in three students drop out before completing their degree. Don’t allow yourself to feel as though you have to go because everyone else is going, or because your parents want you to.
TAFE is another alternative to university but still centres on learning and equipping with the skills needed to enter the workforce. The subjects and courses tend to be more hands-on and practical, focusing on the real skills and knowledge for all kinds of trades and careers, unlike university courses which can be theoretically heavy. Click this link to see how much they offer – (you’ll be pleasantly surprised!)
I know so many people who started at university to only realise it wasn’t for them. Some I know who have gone straight into full-time work and are loving it, and others who are currently travelling around the world and gaining some valuable life lessons.
Don’t ever feel that once you decide on something, you’ll be stuck there – after all, they say the only thing permanent in this life is that everything is temporary!
So, go out, follow your yellow brick road and see where it takes you.
Daniella Scotti is a second-year journalism student, who could spend hours on end at Officeworks and confesses that she sometimes spends more time writing to-do lists than actually completing them.