Different Paths After High School

Thanksgiving has just passed, and that means that the interrogations from distant relatives about your plans for the future are more or less over. There are many different lifestyles, but the alternatives to attending a 4-year college are oftentimes overlooked. Even if you are choosing to go to college, the struggles of finding the right major can be exhausting. There is a variety of  successful people who didn’t attend college, didn’t have a major, or took a leap of faith and decided to take a walk on the road less traveled.

Many people I know aren't completely sure about what they want to do long-term, or short-term for that matter. Because of this, they're considering not going to college at all, fearing the idea of wasting time and money. One option is to apply undecided. This path is underrated! Though many consider it as applying to four more years of high school, that’s honestly not the case. By applying to a college or university, you are allowing yourself the chance to be exposed to a variety of possible career paths; plus, you're already admitted into a college, so it makes the transitioning process easier while enabling you to get through your needed credits for your regular classes.

Another conflict I see many going through is feeling confident in a major. For example, someone I know wants to go into film, but is worried that they will be out of a job when they graduate. This is a fear for many art-related majors because jobs in such fields aren’t always as consistent in comparison to other careers. A way to put yourself at ease is to consider having a business-related minor, or even having a double major. Having a business degree can give you more wiggle room in regards to finding a job in your specific field. This can also a better starting point at a company that will allow you to work yourself up, permitting you to pitch ideas that may get you noticed and allow you to reach your ultimate dream job.

Another option is to simply not go to college at all. It may take more time, but there are plenty of ways to make your way up and, depending on the field, be very successful. This isn't be the case for everyone (for example, working in medicine necessitates attending college/medical school). However, in careers related to writing, drawing, acting, dancing, computers, and even having your own business, you might not need college at all. Internships are a great way to learn new skills and make acquaintances that can give you recommendations later on. Through intense studying and dedication, you can make it far with this lifestyle as well!

Another path is to make your way up at what some would consider a “simple” job. Don’t let the word fool you; just because you aren’t performing surgeries or wearing a suit to work every day doesn’t make it any less of a job. If you want to work in a coffee shop, then work in a coffee shop and make your way up until you are a manager (or even start your own coffee shop eventually). If you want to work at a dress shop, bar, car dealership, or restaurant, then do it! Don’t let anyone put you down because your goals don’t require 8+ years of college and formal training.

These are only some of the possible paths to take after high school. Many people can feel pressured to live a certain way because of what they see in the media or what others are telling them, but it is your future. If you are happy and able to support yourself, then it doesn’t matter how many degrees you have hanging on your wall.

By Alana James

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