Weigh Up Your Career Options While Still In High School

As somebody recently thrown into the clutches of Year 12, I know all too well the daunting feeling of having to consider my future.

Not only must we decide on at least a vague idea of a career goal, but we have to figure out the means by which we will get there.Scary, huh?For those of us who have opted to take the university path, here are a few tips to consider which will hopefully make this stressful experience just a tad less stressful.1. Speak to a careers counsellor.I consider myself lucky to attend a school which has a careers counsellor available to talk about my future whenever necessary. If you do too, I would highly advise you to take full advantage of this; their expertise and knowledge will likely be a godsend if you’re totally stuck for direction. Usually making an appointment is as easy as sending a quick email or simply turning up for a chat. I can almost guarantee you’ll come out of there with at least a little more clarity.

2. Attend university open days.Pretty much every year, most Australian universities host an open day. These events, often held during winter, are primarily aimed towards prospective students and contain a goldmine of information about university life. Not only do you have the opportunity to ask staff and students any pressing questions, but you can also explore the campus, attend lectures, learn about clubs and extra-curricular activities and enjoy a bite to eat whilst taking in the atmosphere.

3. Do some self-directed online investigation.Often the most useful information is that which we have sought out ourselves. Take a moment to browse through the websites of universities that appeal to you, and compare the pros and cons of particular courses at each establishment. Asking for advice on forums is another great way to source opinions without even having to leave your bedroom. This way you can get specific answers to your queries from people who have been through exactly what you’re about to face.

4. Ask friends and family for useful contacts.Surprisingly, sometimes the people closest to you can end up assisting you in your data-hunt more than any professional could. If you have an inkling of a realm you’d like to enter, don’t hesitate to ask your aunts, uncles, cousins, friends or even that eccentric old lady from across the road about their experiences, and if they can help you in any way. If you want to be a GP, ask your GP. If you want to be a teacher, ask your teacher. It is highly likely at least one of them will know somebody they can put you in contact with. The fact that you may already know this person might make the process slightly less intimidating and settle your nerves about the future.

5. Look for work experience opportunities.You’ll never know exactly what a job entails until you do it for yourself, which is why work experience is practical for almost all young people. Not only will you get a feel for being employed, you’ll also have something impressive to put down on your résumé. In the beginning it may just entail simple tasks like getting coffees, filing and general tidying, but at the end of the day any work is worthwhile work. Even if you’re unsure of your commitment to the field in question, the experience itself will be paramount in preparing you for the workforce and perhaps directing you along other paths.

6. Ask yourself questions.It seems kind of obvious, but many of us are in such a hurry to decide on our futures that we don’t stop to consider the most blatant questions. Here are some things to ask yourself before setting out on the treacherous quest for employment:What are my greatest strengths?What are my passions?Could I combine these strengths with my passions in order to formulate a worthwhile career?Would I be happy doing this in the long run?If yes, what can I do now to set off on this path?Often a little bit of self-reflection can make all the difference throughout this arduous process and can provide the spark that sets the wheels in motion.