This is the second in a 2-part series. For the first part, click here – High School Career Exploration: Our Experience.
High School Career Exploration
High School Career Exploration: Our Experience Part 1 left us ready to look seriously into three career fields:
* Chef/Restaurant Industry
* Fitness/Personal Training
We found people we knew who were working in these fields or had connections to people working in them, and picked their brains. One of the most powerful of those brain-picking sessions was with a friend of my older children who had just finished chef school and loves working in his field. He came to the house and shared glowing stories about his time in culinary school, about what he loves about the restaurant industry, about all the various special disciplines you can study. It was great fun, and as we were winding down I figured visiting some culinary schools was going to be added to our calendar. Gordon asked Jonah, “So what thoughts do you have, now that I’ve shared my experience? You’ve asked lots of specific questions, but what’s your gut feeling? Think you might want to go further with this?”
With no hesitation, Jonah said, “I feel bad saying this because I can tell you love it, Gordon, but no. I actually think I’m definitely taking this option off my list.”
I was so surprised! I asked him why.
He said that it had never occurred to him how fast-paced/high-pressure the restaurant environment would be (he’s a pretty laid back guy) or how much his nights and weekends would be totally dominated by his work if he pursued this career. His time with family and friends is very important to him, and the schedule in this field would not mesh well with others who work more traditional daytime hours. He said he thinks he’ll keep his cooking for fun and entertaining his friends, but culinary school was off the list.
What a valuable opportunity! Finding out you definitely DON’T want to pursue a career (and why) is just as valuable as making your choice to settle on one that you DO want to pursue.
Our investigation of Architecture started with looking at the required courses for this major at several universities. Jonah quickly decided that these required courses did not interest him enough to warrant the time and money needed to go this route.
Our investigation of school options in the Fitness field revealed that several options were available. Everything from independent intensive programs (less than one year) to prepare for the National Certification Test from 4-year Bachelor degrees in Exercise Science could be had…with several variations in between.
We met with people working in the field and learned of the need for perseverance in building personal client lists, excellence in people skills, a teaching mindset as each client has different needs and unique learning styles (remember the personality test and Keirsey report that indicated he was a natural teacher?), and flexibility in work schedules. All of this was really sounding like a good fit to Jonah!
He has made his choice and just graduated from high school. He begins his 1-year Certificate Program at our local college (very affordable option) with plans to extend for a 2nd year to complete his Associate Degree in Exercise Science. After that, he has the option to transfer those credits in to any of the state universities to be an incoming Junior in an Exercise Science Bachelor’s program if he wants to.
His very intentional decision to work on high school career exploration in 10th grade resulted in him learning a lot about himself, ruling out several careers he thought he might enjoy, and educating himself on the various ways he could pursue the field he’s chosen to go after now that high school is over.
Do we know for sure that this career will be “successful”?
Of course not! Life doesn’t offer those kind of guarantees.
But we do feel confident that he is starting in a wise direction, taking smart steps after high school graduation.
And we hope sharing our experience may encourage some of you to be intentional as you look into high school career exploration!