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Graduation time is such a cool place to be in your life–whether from high school, college, trade school–whatever. It’s a bittersweet ending to a whole world of possibilities. The problem is that many people get completely overwhelmed with all the different paths they can take, and either take the first opportunity that arises, or wait too long (because they’re still completely overwhelmed!) As a parent or friend, you’re probably gonna be asked for your opinion on lots of things. To read about the goals your graduate should be setting for him or herself, go HERE. And here’s how to help your graduate create his or her own path:
First–download the FREE worksheets to help sort through his or her mind and find some clarity by clicking the image below!
Ask: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Seriously. When your grad was a kid, what did she want to be? Was it just a silly kid-dream? Or did it indicate something she truly loved, and still loves? Start at the real heart of what he or she loves and enjoys. (Even if it’s art–and don’t go into panic mode at thinking your kid’s gonna end up a starving artist! Think in terms of graphic design, etc.) Help guide them to understand things they enjoy, and things they’d like to avoid.
Find: Someone in the same field.
Do you have a friend, or friend of a friend, in the same field your grad thinks they want to go? Ask if they mind you two visiting. There’s nothing like actually sitting in on a ‘day in the life’ to really understand the types of things you’d be doing in that career. My mom took me to an interior designer’s office when I was in high school–which I totally appreciate–but all they did was basically show us around. I didn’t get an actual look into what the designers did. I didn’t understand that they have lengthy meetings with clients, and work with budgets, and deal with delays in deliveries–or wrong deliveries. I really didn’t get a good hard look at anything they really do besides get a peek at a giant pile of fabric swatches and a blueprint of the room they were working on.
Ask if you can really get a true tour, and maybe even shadow this person for the full day. It may not even hurt to ask if you can do a short internship! Whatever can give you a really good true layout of what this career entails. My seventeen year old has said that she may want to be a chef, because she likes to cook. But she didn’t understand that the hours of a chef are normally at night–and late–and definitely on the weekends. Once she understood that she started thinking about something besides being a chef that she could do in the culinary arts.
Another advantage of speaking to someone in the same career is that they can guide you if you think your grad may actually be interested in only one aspect of the field or career. For example–if I could do it all over again, I think I would’ve ended up doing fabric design. Although I love interior design, fabrics are really what have always tugged at my heartstrings. I do love putting together a beautiful, comfortable room. But the textures and endless possibilities of fabrics are what really get me.
Make: A mind-map
Making a mind-map can help narrow down some pretty broad choices by listing the things your grad would die inside having to do every day, and would thrive by doing every day. It will also help you have a visual so you can list some pros and cons and let them determine what cons are more important than others, and what pros are more important than others.
Develop: A plan
Once you’ve settled on a narrowed field, you’ll be able to determine what steps to take to get your grad there. Are there certifications for your state to consider? (Many certifications require a certain number of years experience, as well as a specific degree, and depend on passing an exam.) Look these things up or make a call to the agency that handles that.
What kind of experience does your grad need to gain? Can he work in the same field as an assistant, or entry-level position and work his way up? Or does his degree gain him admission to jump right in? Think about the peripheral roles in this career. Would it be beneficial to start in some of those roles to understand the inner workings of this type of career before getting to the ideal role?
Make a list of all the steps needed to get to the ideal career role. This will be your grad’s ‘path’. Once you have that path detailed, she can figure out what needs to happen to achieve each step–whether it’s getting resumes printed and sent out, enrolling in another course, or doing some heavy researching.
Whatever the path, click the image below to download the FREE Graduate Path Worksheets to help you map it out!
Did you find this guide helpful? I sure wish I’d had some guidance at that age!!
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