One of the biggest pressures on young people is knowing what you’re going to do when you leave school.
At 16 or 17 it’s almost impossible to know what your ideal career is because you haven’t been in the workforce yet. Careers don’t seem real. They are just things you hear your parents complain about or what characters do in your favourite Netflix series.
How do you know what is going to be right for you? How do you know if you are going to even like it? Young people aren’t going to stay in degrees that they don’t feel passionate about. This generation are strong believers in finding meaning in what they do.
My son is 17, he’s the fourth child I’ve been through this process with and he’s typical of most teens finishing school – he doesn’t really know what he wants to do, but he’s having to come up with some solutions because whatever he chooses is going to impact on what happens next.
That’s why I cry at school graduation nights. It’s not just because my baby is all grown up, it’s because sending them to school was a no-brainer. Now the real decisions begin. Which city? Which university? Which course? Which stream? With so much to choose from it’s hard to break down what exactly you want to do with the rest of your life. After all, your life is pretty well just beginning.
Just recently Charlie’s school made it to the Grand Finals for the NSW Mock trials. That’s where high school students compete in teams of Prosecution v Defence. As it turns out the small town country school has stacked up pretty well against some of the most elite schools in the country. This is what got us thinking more seriously about the range of careers and degrees available in the business, government and law. It’s a peculiar thrill to realise your son has inherited your calmness under cross-examination. “Did you buy more shoes?” “Define ‘more’.”
We live regionally so our kids have to leave home for university. This makes living affordability a huge issue because our kids have to leave home. While it's a financial challenge for a young student to leave home, I think moving out is invaluable for maturation and developing the life skills that feed back into study and work life. The only issue is, how does a young person pay the big rents some of our major cities demand?