Leaving school is one of life’s biggest milestones. For some, it’s a long-awaited gateway to freedom while for others, it’s the emotional end to a very significant era. Regardless of how you feel about leaving school, the burning question on every school leavers mind is: what next? Perhaps you know and have a plan already mapped out. For many, however, there isn’t that certainty and this time can feel quite daunting and almost overwhelming. Take a deep breathe, relax and read on for some advice on how to approach the rest of your life.
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1. Identify what you want to do… nowThe notion of ‘career’ or “what do you want to be when you grow up?” is instilled within us from a very early age. If you know what you’d like to do after school, great. If not, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Gone are the days of being in one job, company or career your whole working life. It is now the norm, rather than the exception, for people to have multiple jobs throughout their working life and in some cases, two or three major career changes. When it comes to choosing a career or job path, there is no such thing as ‘getting it right’ or ‘getting it wrong’, so don’t stress. Instead, focus on what you enjoy doing, where you think your skills lie and what you want to do NOW. If this doesn’t work out, you will have gained some valuable life experience along the way and can use this to choose your new direction.
2. Do you have the skills to pay the bills?Most jobs require a certain set of skills and knowledge and the higher the level of skill and knowledge, the bigger the pay cheque. So how do you go about getting these ‘skills’ and ‘knowledge’? The answer is to get yourself a qualification. While professions in science, technology or lawtake years to complete, many qualifications can be completed far more quickly. For example, accredited short courses and certificates can be completed in days or weeks. You can also look into apprenticeships, traineeships and diplomas. These course are classified as ‘vocational’ and are designed to get you a job or into university. There are loads of courses on offer such as business, IT, construction, hospitality or healthcare. You can also choose to study on campus, online or a combination of the two. Do your research and check out a large number of established education providers such as Careers Australia.
3. Broaden your horizonsIf you’re feeling really lost and not sure what direction to take in life, maybe you could do some travel? If you don’t have a lot of money, why not consider a working holiday here or abroad? Some time out and away from home might help you figure out what your next move is.
4. VolunteerIf you’re suddenly finding yourself with a whole heap of time on your hands and not much to do, have a think about donating some of this precious commodity to those in need. By volunteering, you could gain some valuable skills that could ultimately land you a paid job. You also get to feel good about doing something for others and making a difference.
Leaving school offers freedom but it also means greater responsibility and figuring out what you want to do with your life. Just remember, there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ choice and you should pursue things in life that you’re good at and enjoy doing. Good luck!