A couple of years ago when my blog was just starting out, I wrote an article about the ten things that college never taught me. Every time I look back on that article, I can’t help but chuckle to myself about how some of these things are still true and still apply to me to this day. Now, this was something I wrote for college students and I think it’s safe to say that it’s much easier to understand things and have an open mind when you’re in college.
But high school is another story. I remember feeling scared every time someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, because my answer was this: I just wanted to write. Back then, I wasn’t sure if writing was the kind of career that could sustain me. I wasn’t looking to be super tycoon rich—I just wanted a comfortable lifestyle. But because I had no idea with what the future had in store for me, I was left feeling a bit scared and paranoid for most of senior year.
Thankfully, my parents were always incredibly supportive. Because writing was something I was passionate about, they didn’t dictate what school to go to or course to take. On my own, I chose Creative Writing. I studied the first two years of college in UP Diliman then transferred and finished my studies in Ateneo de Manila University.
Now if I had to give advice to all my high school readers out there, it would be these:
- Develop your skills and interests.
Join extra-curricular activities. Get into a sport. Take up piano lessons or art workshops. Attend a cooking class! You have all the time in world, especially because you have your summers to be productive! Whatever it is that interests you, go out there and do it. Because I believe that it’s in doing these things, especially if it’s outside your comfort zone, that you’ll be able to figure out what it is that you love or that you’re really good at. And when you have that confidence, it’s much easier to pick a career that suits you and you’ll be happy with.
- Keep an open mind.
The minute you close yourself off to something, it’s like you’re closing your doors on an opportunity that could have been great. Back in high school, I hated Math and I never liked using MS Excel. I thought to myself that this was useless to me anyway, because writers only need words—not numbers. But now that I’m working as a marketing manager, Math and MS Excel are two of the most useful things to me! It helps me keep track of monthly sales, allows me to compute projected costs for certain events or projects, keeps things organized and precise, and it keeps me sane!
- You always have a choice.
Don’t let the opinion of others dictate what you want or don’t want to do. Just because this school or course seems more prestigious than others, doesn’t mean you should choose it right away. Think about it first. Think about what you want for yourself. Remember that only you will be able to make yourself happy, and part of this is choosing a career path that you’ll be happy in.
If I had an option like FutureYou.ph back in high school, I’m pretty sure I would have taken advantage of it because it would have helped me find out what career really fits my personality and competencies, and even achieve my career goal. Not saying that I’m not happy with where I am now, because I really am. I think the road was just tougher getting to where I wanted to be, as opposed to what FutureYou.ph may have done for me and made things easier had I discovered it in high school.
FutureYou.ph is a project of the Philippine Business for Education in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development Philippines. It helps high school students give a clearer understanding of the career track they have in minds, by providing them with a profile of each industry. This would have been perfect for my cousin, who’s currently a freshman and had no idea what she wanted to do in college. She ended up taking HRM because she thought it was what she wanted at that time, but she had no idea that HRM involved subjects she wasn’t interested in. Maybe if she had gotten a better preview of the course, she would have chosen something else.
FutureYou.ph also gives students an idea of the trending jobs today until 2020, and how much the salary is. This gives high school students a chance to learn early on what jobs to aim for. Even I was looking through the different positions and their salaries, and it gives me an idea of where I am in the corporate ladder!
It’s a great tool, and incredibly helpful. I’m definitely sharing this with my younger siblings and cousins.