Last night, my son and my daughter had to pick their courses for high school for next year. My daughter had the toughest time because at 17 she still does not know what she wants to do for a career. No big deal – who knows what they want to become at 17? She will be going into grade 12 this fall, so she and I figured it would be best to keep her options open. Well, apparently, it is a big deal that she doesn’t know what she wants to do. When she went to her Guidance Department at school to go over her courses, they were quite surprised that she had no idea what she wanted for a career and told her that her courses she had chosen would not get her anywhere in university. Huh???? She chose English, math, philosophy, biology, a sociology course and religion, and her two alternate courses are history and Canadian law. This will not get you anywhere in university???? I don’t get it.
Some kids are well aware of what they want to do for a career, but others just can not figure it out just yet. There are many people who thought they wanted to do one thing and ended up doing another or chose to go another path. I am one of those people. I started in one course in college, and then made a complete change to a different college course. Who can figure out at 17 or 18 what they want to do for the rest of their lives and plan their high school courses around this? They lack life experience at this point and have little knowledge of what different careers involve.
If we look to some famous people, we can see that careers can be ever changing. How about the actor, Ben Stein. He is known as the teacher in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” who stood at the front of the class calling “Bueller…Bueller…Bueller”. He was a lawyer, professor, a speechwriter for Presidents Ford and Nixon, and a Wall Street Journal columnist before he moved to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. There, he was cast for “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ and other film and TV appearances as well as having his own show “Win Ben Stein’s Money”. Then, there is Martha Stewart who left her career as a stockbroker to start a catering business. Now, she heads Martha Stewart Living Onmimedia, which includes Martha Stewart Living magazine, a television show and many books and TV appearances. Or, how about Walt Disney who was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas”. He then started a number of businesses that didn’t last and ended with bankruptcy. He kept trying and we all know what he ended up doing. Imagine that!
I think my daughter is on the right track. Keeping her options open may help her decide in college or university what she might want to get into. I can’t imagine that closing yourself off from different courses would be better. The help kids get from Guidance Departments is very little (I have kids in two different high schools and they react in the same way, plus I have talked to other parents about this), but that is a story for another day. My daughter is a good student and she works hard for every mark she gets. I know in the long run she will figure it all out. Who knows, maybe she will be the next Walt Disney! Think she’ll let me into the parks for free????