Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Too Much Pressure on Year 12 Students?

Today I welcome Belinda-Jane back to my blog to speak about a topic that I too, am very passionate about; the ridiculous pressure on 17/18 year olds to make a career decision "for the rest of their lives", during year 12.

Having worked at a university, and been a university student who "changed my mind about my career in my fourth year of study", I now know that it truly is a minority of people who choose the degree and a career that they pursue, right out of school (on average people change careers 7 times throughout their lifetime!)

 I'm up to career change number 3 and I'm 25 AND I couldn't be happier with the experiences I've had since school!

Take it away Beej.

We’re coming to that time again when year 12 students have to make choices on what they are going to do after school. Some lucky students have their lives seemingly mapped out, because their passion for a particular topic or career has driven all of their choices and they are beyond ready to jet off down that path. Others have been tossing up idea after idea, week after week, and are really feeling the pressure to decide; afraid they are going to fail if they don’t make the right choice.

Excuse my French (that I studied in year 8) but what a load of crap. Year 12 students are not even adults, so why should they be feeling the pressure to decide where their life is going to go? Why is going to University shoved down their throats, when Tafe or an apprenticeship is a better option for some individuals? Why can’t we tell them how there is more than one way to find your career path? Well, I’m about to.

I was good at writing at school; in fact, I got a perfect score for English in year 12. According to my teachers, I was destined to do writing at University. Because I hadn’t made a choice on my career goals and felt pressured to do so, I just went with what they said, answered the end of year school magazine profile with ‘When I grow up, I want to be the editor of Cosmo’, and accepted my university offer to do a double degree in Journalism and International Studies.

I cried every day of my first week.

I felt like I was going to vomit when I told my parents that I wanted to quit. I should have known that they only wanted what was best for me, and had no objections to me deferring for a year if that was what I really believed was best for me.

That year I went to work for a Private Investigation company. I learnt the ropes, worked my way up from where I started, and discovered what the real world was actually like. I still admired my friends working hard in Uni, those who were loving their courses and were definite about what they wanted – I was happy for them and their excitement!

I took on some study myself, and working full time I still managed to complete a Diploma of Arts in Professional Writing – it was exactly what I wanted to do. It was more creative than political, it challenged my thinking and my skills, and I learnt about the many types of writing (for the Web, for PR, script writing etc) – things I never would have learnt in my uni course, but were truly what I wanted to learn about.

When I moved to the Eyre Peninsula, I was given another opportunity to grow, stepping into a Grain Marketing company and learning about the industry, making use of my writing skills in our marketing and communications and getting specialised training in that area, as well as taking on another course that I am near completing – an Agribusiness Management Diploma, which is going to be perfect for my life on the farm.

Today, I work at the Cummins District Community Bank Branch (https://www.facebook.com/CumminsDistrictCommunityBankBranch?fref=ts) 3 days a week which appeals to my sense of fulfilment. Growing the bank means growing the community I live in, with over $2.38 million put back into the community through grants, donations, sponsorship and scholarships in just over 10 years, all thanks to our customers.

The other 2 days a week I have the privilege of working from home, contracting as a Marketing and Communications Manager for Jade Norwood Photography. (www.jadenorwood.com) . I am able to put together everything I have learnt in my short years, further develop my skills and do what I enjoy – be creative and grow with the business!

2013 is my 7th year out of school. I have had a number of jobs and gone above and beyond in each. I don’t have a University degree but I have 1 diploma and another just a few months away. I am a Justice of the Peace and an active member of my community. I have had an article printed in the Sunday Mail, and a poem printed in a collection of Australian Poems. I have proven myself to my different employers who have given me a chance. I have brought a grown man to tears as he said his goodbyes when he left the workplace, as he told me how proud he was of the woman I had become in 2 short years. I have had employers express their thanks for having worked with me, and their wish that there were more people like me out there.

I am not defined by what is written on a piece of paper, whether it is a certificate or a resume. I am defined by my drive, my willingness to trust my gut feeling and follow my heart, my ability to grow and adapt, my kindness, my integrity, my passion.

I am all of these things because I did what was right for me, not what someone else did, or what I felt I had to do.  I didn’t map out this path in year 12 and I couldn’t have envisioned the opportunities I have had, yet each choice I have made has led me here, everything has ‘come together’ and I am truly happy, fulfilled and thankful. I couldn’t tell you whether I will still be in the same job in 3 years from now, or if I will be elsewhere; all I know is that if I follow my heart, the decision I make will always be the right one.

So year 12’s, don’t think that your choices now define the rest of your life – your opportunities are endless and aren’t restricted to your early 20s. Have as many jobs as you want, study different subjects, try something different, travel the world. Do something bold, do what excites you; just do what makes you happy and you will always have made the right choice.

Belinda-Jane x

Thanks Beej, I honestly couldn't agree with this more!

Life is full of surprises, and not knowing where your life is going to take you is all part of the fun!!!

Look after yourself and those around you (particularly if you have a year 12 student in your family/friendship group),


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