Unlocking The Key To Your Future

by Hosanna Spencer

Article by Hosana Spencer. Photos by Abby Conn

How can you as a student prepare yourself for your future? It can be stressful in school trying to keep track of all your classes and assignments. 

And even more frightening is the idea of what career or schooling you want after high school. 

Maybe you love sports, or painting, music or fixing things. All can lead to good jobs and careers after high school or college, but it’s important to distinguish between hobbies, interests and potential career paths. And these won’t be the same for any two students. 

It can feel like a lot of responsibility, and it’s hard to know where to start. It can be stressful, overwhelming, and pit one’s passions against family and personal expectations, as well as the need to earn a living throughout adulthood. 

Brianna Strickler, an Epic college planning counselor, recommends students get involved with everything they can.

Extracurricular activities, school clubs, part-time jobs and internships can all lead in unique directions and sharpen a student’s direction.

“Take advantage of the opportunities that are available while you’re still in high school,” she said. 

Once you leave high school, these opportunities may not be available.

Epic offers ample opportunities to help students prepare for the future. Whether it’s taking concurrent college classes, getting certifications or gaining job experiences, Epic has programs to help students learn and figure things out. 

There’s even a program in Epic where you can get an associates degree by the time you graduate high school that is covered by the Learning Fund. 

Also, don’t forget about rigorous classes, whether concurrent enrollment, Advanced Placement or Career Tech. All of these will further equip you with the knowledge and experience to succeed in life. 

Strickler said it’s important for students to know themselves. 

“Acknowledge what your strengths and weaknesses are. It’s OK to change your mind; if your plans don’t work out, there’s always other options,” she said. 

Epic Transition Specialist Nicole Brown helps students who are graduating from high school figure out what comes next. It’s one of the biggest decisions a person can make.

There are five paths for most students: attending trade school, obtaining a professional certification, finding a job, going to college or joining the military. It’s normal to be unsure of what you want to do. In many cases, it’s easier to find out what you don’t like, which will help eliminate jobs that don’t suit you. 

Brown suggested students advocate for themselves and ask questions. 

“Stepping outside of your comfort zone, learning how to talk to people you don’t know and asking thoughtful questions are really important skills to have,” she said. 

Whether the future includes work, college or the military, these skills are universal. 

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