After secondary school ends, your future is more in your control than it ever was before.
This can be a scary, overwhelming feeling with so many opportunities to go the “right” way or the “wrong” way— or so it seems.
This can also be an exhilarating, exciting feeling as you finally get to call the shots and decide what life you’ll chose to lead.
But if the unstructured and undefined future before you is giving you anxiety, especially if you’ve decided not to pursue university at the moment, there is no reason to panic or worry.
As a school leaver, you have options and opportunities. Being young allows you to take risks, try new things, travel, create, fail— and start over as many times as you need before you even reach the age of 25. That’s very good news!
Many of the most successful people in the world, from Mark Cuban to Steve Jobs to Vera Wang, failed and walked an unconventional path and ended up becoming wildly influential. Going your own way doesn’t necessarily mean a bad future and may be the key to the best future possible!
So, what exactly can a school leaver do? It would be impossible to list all the awesome opportunities out there, but here are a few paths to consider or inspire you to brainstorm your own opportunities.
Who are you?
As Hunter S. Thompson, the famous journalist and author, wrote to a friend who was asking his advice on what to do with his life:
“...beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life.”
It’s important to consider the path you’re on and how this path fits with who you are and how you want to live your life. Asking the question: “how can I make a living within this path?” can point you in the right direction of careers to consider. Asking what work/life balance you need, what environment you want to work in and what you enjoy doing, plus understanding your skills and strengths will provide guidance.
Understanding more about who you are, reflecting on your values and priorities is important— as is the realisation that these will change over time with new experiences and exposure to new ideas.
Get To Work
After secondary school, jumping straight into the job market is one path that many people choose. Earning a paycheck and gaining experience is a solid way to understand which direction you want to go, what you enjoy about work and what you’d prefer to avoid, plus cover your expenses.
Start by crafting a well-made CV to show off your education and work experience so far and start applying for jobs. You may also consider finding internships or apprenticeships that will let you gain experience.
As a school leaver, you may eventually encounter roadblocks in your career, many promotions and senior positions require certifications and qualifications that require education. It’s an important factor to consider as you progress and may lead you to consider being proactive in obtaining the education you’ll need.
Perhaps you’re not yet ready to jump into the working world, but you’d still like to contribute, socialise, meet people and gain skills.
Have you ever considered volunteering?
There are hundreds of organisations looking for people to help out and add value to their communities. From reading to kids to helping animals to cleaning up parks, there are volunteer opportunities that almost anyone can enjoy.
If landing a job is on your mind, volunteering also augments your CV and shows work experience, plus expands your network to include people who may become new friends.
Create your own job
Have you ever been told you’d be a good leader or have a knack for making money?
Entrepreneurship is one route many people take and it’s spawned success stories like Facebook, Microsoft, IKEA and Disney and plenty of other sustainable, well-paying small businesses that exist in every city and town across the world.
Your entrance into entrepreneurship could be anything from starting your own landscaping company to dropshipping to launching your own cafe.
Being an entrepreneur is no easy task and requires lots of time, risk and dedication, plus skills in leadership, accounting, marketing and more, but this could be the perfect place to start out.
Travel the world
With websites like Airbnb and Scott’s Cheap Flights, travel has become more affordable and feasible than ever and serves as one of the best ways of “finding yourself” and creating unique experiences you’ll remember for a lifetime.
There are even jobs that allow you to travel as you go while you experience new cultures, try new food and meet people different than you and those you know.
Travel doesn’t have to take you to the end of the earth. Simply spending a month or two in a different city or state can leave its mark. Taking a road trip to see something you’ve never seen before opens your eyes to what else is out there.
After many years in school, sometimes the last thing anyone wants to do is spend more time in school.
But what if it’s different this time?
What if you can learn in a more hands-on way about subjects you can apply to your life today— from people who are experts in their field and bring years of expertise and experience to the classroom?
What if the learning doesn’t only happen in the classroom and it sets you up for more fulfilling work and an in-demand career?
What if this learning sets you up to reach the goals you have set for yourself and overcome obstacles from your past?
University simply isn’t the only option anymore. Registered Training Organisations like Barrington College provide accredited education opportunities and prepare students for careers in business, hospitality, food service, event management and much more.
You won’t spend four years in university, learning only about theory. This time, your education prepares you for a future and gives you flexibility to dream big.
It’s Your Choice
No matter the path you choose to go down, it’s never too late to try something new, redefine yourself and grow. It’s never too late to see what opportunities are out there for you.
Try a few paths, find what fits and what doesn’t. Make mistakes and succeed. There’s no secret one-size-fits-all recipe for a fulfilling life, so don’t be afraid to take chances and look for a life that fits you best.