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I Need Help Deciding What Career To Choose Because I Don't Want To Live With My Parents Forever!

Mar 13, 2008
Are you a high school senior who is staring graduation in the face and you still don't have a clue as to what you want to do with the rest of your life?

Take a deep breath. This is not as hard as it seems. I am a mom who has helped her own seniors navigate the shark-infested career waters and listened to their own screams of "I need help deciding what career to choose!"

Here are some steps you can take that will make you feel much, much better.

1. Talk to your parents.

Especially if you haven't already. Try to stay calm and focused during this conversation. Here's what you need to remember about your parents. They really, really, really want you to succeed. And they are probably willing to help you in a variety of ways, but they need to hear from you, too.

So let them know that you are having a tough time deciding on career ideas. Tell them you are going to do some serious research over the next few weeks to try and get a clearer picture of what path you should take. Ask them for any insight they can give you as to what they think would be a good fit for you.

Then listen. Very carefully.

Here's the deal. Your folks have lived with you a long time. Probably longer than anyone else. They have unique insights into your character and abilities. You need these insights.

They probably are a bit biased, too. They want the best for you; the trick is their ideas about what's best and your ideas about what's best for you may not match exactly. That's the part where you need to stay calm. Think of this as a fact-gathering mission. Be objective. Take notes (that will impress your folks, trust me). Then keep your end of the bargain by rolling up your sleeves and doing some serious career research...immediately.

2. Talk to your school guidance counselor.

Most high schools these days are a wealth of resources for your career research. Think about it. Your high school's mission, on some level, is to prepare you to be a productive adult in society. That means career research is one of their primary tasks!

Take advantage of everything your guidance counselor can offer you career-wise. Things like...

* Career aptitude tests and assessments
* Personality testing
* Meetings with college representatives
* Financial aid information
* Vocational job training opportunities
* Career information

Don't be shy and ask lots of questions. Dive right into learning all you can about yourself through these career resources. Take a ton of notes. Schedule another meeting with your parents and show them everything you've learned. If you have another trusted adult in your life, talk with him or her about what you're learning about yourself, too.

3. You'll start to see a picture emerge.

What career fields have popped up from your research? You should have a handful by now. Go back to your guidance counselor and ask where you can find accurate information about each of these career fields. There is also a lot of information available online through trade journals and government labor departments. If you can, talk to someone who is already working in the careers you are researching.

Dig, dig, dig and find out all you can about the careers that are interesting to you. How much do they pay? Where can you find them (do you want to live in a city or rural area?)? What kind of educational requirements do they have? You get the picture.

4. The money.

If you are in the US, there are a tremendous amount of financial aid programs available to help you attend college. Since you're already a senior, there's probably no time left to improve your grades or take the courses that you now know you'll need in college. Simply learn from that lesson that next time it will make things easier for you if you look ahead a bit, make a plan and be committed. After all, you are investing in yourself!

Again, talk to your parents and your guidance counselor about money for college. Most college students pay for their education through a combination of cash, loans, scholarships, work study and part time jobs. You can, too.

Go to places like fastweb.com to research scholarships that would be appropriate for you. Your parents will probably have to fill out the FAFSA. That is simply a financial aid form that the US government provides to standardize the scholarship process. Your folks will need to fill it out even if they believe that you are not eligible for any need based college money. The FAFSA gets used to determine more than just that, trust me! Your guidance counselor can fill you in on the details.

Feeling better yet? The sooner you get started on this process, the sooner you will be looking forward to graduation with great confidence. Remember, "I need help deciding what career to choose" is actually one of the smartest things you can say right now. Saying that out loud can get you started on the path to your wonderful future.

Go for it!
About the Author
Colleen Langenfeld has been parenting for over 26 years and helps other moms enjoy mothering more at http://www.paintedgold.com . Visit her website and learn what to do if you're saying "I need help deciding what career to choose".
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