Life After High School: What Do I Do?

Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning.

Senator Orrin Hatch


My heart for high schoolers runs deep and I attribute that to my younger brother – Baby Boy. We are three years apart but I treat him like he is my own son. We grew up in the same house, have the same mother and father, and did pretty much the same things but we tackled school – and specifically high school – differently.

Both of us were labeled Gifted when we were young but only one of us loved school – ME! You did not have to pay me, bribe me, or make me go. I was usually up before my parents and eager to find out what we were doing in class each day. Baby Boy on the other hand, had no desire to go to school except for the fact that that was where all his friends were during the day and my parents would not let him stay home. He was the one that you had to wake up 10 times just to go brush his teeth and then he would fall asleep on the bathroom floor or on the toilet so you would have to pick the door lock or bang on the door and make him to jump in the shower AND you had to time him while he was in there or he would never come out. His backpack always had one notebook with a pen or two and he was pretty nonchalant about school. To be honest, he is the perfect example of a Gifted student. He was capable of doing the work but he was easily bored and did not feel challenged enough so he checked out.

Fast forward to my senior year in high school (Baby Boy’s freshman year), I was informed by a college advisor that I should consider going to college because I had high GPA. She made me apply to two colleges because I had two college application waivers and she scheduled me to take the ACT and SAT since I had two waivers for each of those as well. I did well on the ACT and USF accepted me on a on conditional basis in a first generation college student program and my life was changed forever. After I left that school and Baby Boy no longer had anyone “pushing” him to go to school, he started to get in trouble more frequently and he did not care for college. He just wanted to finish high school so our parents would get off his back.

But I wanted more for him. I wanted him to want something for himself. I wanted him to find purpose in his life but he graduated high school and things just took a downhill spiral afterwards. Because of him, I changed my major from Biomedical Sciences to Criminology with the hope that I can help youth, just like my brother either deter juvenile delinquency or develop a plan to get back on track. That is how I ended up becoming a teacher. I felt like that was one of the best places to reach these youth.

Kid, you’ll move mountains.

Dr. Seuss

I say all that to say, if you do not know what to do right now, DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED!!! There are millions of people in the same boat and honestly, that is a good place to be. In an “I Don’t Know” place, it gives you the space to think about YOU! It may sound selfish but reflection is necessary in order to move forward. There is a reason why the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror.

There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.

C.S. Lewis

Summer Challenge

So for the recent 2019 high school graduates, I challenge you to get a sheet of paper and fold it in half vertically. Title one half “WHAT” and the other half “WHY.” On the WHAT side, write down all the things YOU like to do and all the things that interest YOU or might interest YOU. Be as specific as possible. Make sure they are things that YOU like and not things your family and friends tell you to like and do. So if in high school, you and your friends love to skateboard but that was not your thing, do not write it down. If you like painting but your family or friends do not support it, DO write it down. On the WHY side, write down why you like those things. Really try to find your why. If you like it because you know it makes money, then write it down. Why moves you into action. The why side will help you in determining if your what is truly from you.

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

Arthur Ashe

Post the list somewhere that you see everyday like your bathroom mirror or your bedroom door. Reread and reflect on it for about a week or two but do not make any changes to it. During the reflection, envision yourself doing the things on that list. Allow your imagination and creativity to take you wherever your heart and soul truly desires. At the end of that reflection week, go back and edit the list. Now that you are looking at it with fresh eyes and need to cross out (don’t erase) anything that caused you to change your mind. Now look at the items on your list that can be monetized (that you can make money off of) and start doing research on it. If going to college was one of the things that might interest you, then you need to figure out which one you would consider going to. If interior design is something you like to do, then you need to find out if you need a certification or license to do that and how to start making money off of it. You have one week to do research and then it is time to get moving. By the end of July 2019, you should have a game plan.

And if you need to change, modify, adjust, edit, or do anything to the plan because it is not working – DO THAT! This list is not the end all be all but it is the start of an amazing journey. Enjoy it.

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe.

Anatole France

Small Plug: There are jobs in the Technology industry that pay six figures and are going unfilled because there is a lack of skilled tech professionals. My colleague sent me a screenshot of a post from Facebook that gave two great suggestions to young people:

(1) Learn to code. Get a job in tech.

(2) Learn to create apps. Own the tech.

Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.

Albert Einstein

Be the change and consider a career in tech. Check out the info below about FREE online courses.

Disclaimer: None of the information listed above is endorsed by any specific technology company or school and were just a list of opportunities out there for the growth of any individual found on Facebook.

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