If you’re a school leaver, this time of the year should be an exciting period as you look forward to exploring the path for your future, especially in terms of continuing your studies.
However, you may be focussed too much on what you want to do next. Apart from that, pressure from your parents could also affect your decision right now.
Although each person’s situation is unique, here are five things for school leavers to think about, before making that next step to college or university.
Questions to ask
If you’re thinking of starting tertiary education immediately, it is really important to know yourself well beforehand.
The fact is, a lot of people still find it hard to decide what course to study. SMK Matang Jaya teacher Cyril Dason pointed out that most Form 4 students he knows don’t have any idea what they want to study, let alone figure out what career they want to pursue.
To help them figure out what they want to do, his advice to students is to ask themselves these four questions: 1. What do you like to do? 2. Where do you want to work? 3. What are your relationship goals? 4. What are your long-term goals?
Having clear answers to all four of these questions would help give you a better idea what course would fit you best, and set you on your journey to having a fulfilling career.
Don’t let results determine ambition
Treat entry scores with extreme caution. In most Asian countries, society tends to put a ridiculous amount of pressure on secondary school students to get the best examination results, which are used to define what course they should do.
No doubt, it’s a great achievement to have done well in your exams and you should feel very proud of your accomplishments. However, as educator Lucy Chuo explained: “By letting your results determine your ambition, you do not consider your interests and potential, and you do not know what you want to do.”
The important thing is to know what you want to do first and pursue that ambition wholeheartedly. Ambition should always come first because it gives you the drive and motivation to go far in your chosen career.
Focus on the big picture
Think about your future career and not just about getting a job. What would be the ultimate career for you? What skills and abilities would you need? Where do your strengths lie?
While choosing what to study is important to your career, the major you choose will not necessarily lead to the job you’ll end up with. However, it will be a good stepping-stone towards a career that you’ll be passionate about.
Many local universities and colleges offer hundreds of choices, and it is a challenge to choose one especially when it feels like the rest of your adult life is riding on the course that you’ve picked.
Even though it’s a big commitment, it’s not a life sentence because many graduates pursue careers that aren’t directly related to their majors, or some may even change careers after several years.
Seek support and advice
Talking to people is an essential part of the process of getting to know what your next course of action should be. The people you talk to matter because sound advice can go a long way.
For example, talking to your career or counselling teacher about your future is a good start. They can give you advice even if you have left school.
Talking to your parents would also give you a better understanding of your financial capacity. Remember they are all there to help you and are a great place to start if you are not sure which career pathway you want to take.
Value beyond the ringgit
Finally, and probably most importantly, whether you’re considering to go for a degree, diploma or a certificate, this
phase is ultimately about obtaining an education, and not just about the money you’ll make with the qualifications you’ve attained.
The time in college or university should also be seen as a great opportunity to push yourself at an intellectual level and in a social context. It’s an exciting period for personal growth and intellectual expansion, whereby you need to make the most from the experience.
While some school leavers may opt to work due to financial reasons, they should consider all the options available to them, such as assistance offered by the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) or Yayasan Sarawak, which can provide you with the financial support you need to enable you to further your studies.
This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! — an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak — to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
This article first appeared on Borneo Post on this link: http://bit.ly/1oFtB2k