I am sure there isn’t one high school senior who hasn’t heard the question..What are you planning to do after high school graduation?
Heck, they probably hear this question a million times (well I exaggerate), since about Grade 10 from family, friends and teachers.
Why do we keep asking our children this?
I ask this because I recently had this discussion with my daughter, who is currently in grade 12 and is bombarded with this question in her daily life, directly and indirectly. And it is stressing her out! To be quite honest, it is stressing me out too!!
My daughter is a very smart young woman, but struggles with what she really wants to do after high school. Her struggle is also about what will people think if she does not get a 4 year degree. Not that she isn’t capable but that might not be her path. That might not be the path taken for many.
There should be no shame in answering the question, with an I don’t really know or I don’t plan on university, I am going to…(insert here). But there is a stigma. Maybe take a gap year (read more about that in our post “While your teen goes to university, mine is taking a gap year’), travel, upgrade if you need and work part time. For some this isn’t even an option because as my daughter put it..
We have been told for years at school from teachers and parents, that we must get good grades, so that we can go to university.
In grade 11 and maybe even before, students are already planning their course load for post secondary admissions. Of course, there are some who know exactly what they want to study and have for a while. And that is great! But there are some who do not know what they want to do and therefore take the courses they need for their high school credits. And you know what, there is nothing wrong with that either.
After my discussion with my daughter and as well after reading the book Grown & Flown, it got me thinking about that question of planning your life after high school graduation.
Here are a few things I said to my daughter to help her relieve the stress of planning life after high school.
High school graduation which is a milestone in your life. Focus on school, yes but also focus on some of the memories that you will be making. Some of theses friends will move away and the next time you may see them will be at your 10 year reunion.
Focus on You
We all have different goals in life and we all take different paths to get there. So do not compare yourself to others and focus on your path.
You are only 17
You have many, many years ahead of you. There is not need to plan every detail today. You will find some of your friends who have it planned out now have changed paths a few years down the road.
Do What Makes you Happy
Be passionate about what you do and be able to support yourself to live a fulfilling life. If that is being a lawyer, doctor, massage therapist, plumber, etc, etc, then so be it.
At the end of the day, and I think I speak for most parents, we want our children to be happy and healthy! Plan for the future but enjoy your journey, wherever it takes you.