Senior year in high school is an exciting time. Teens are preparing for their graduation, and for most, that means college. One thing that is not often discussed is what happens after students complete high school and what they can expect.
After being surrounded by students for 12 years, most teens feel a change toward independence. There’s that sense of freedom that comes with no longer having teachers, and other adults dictating life.
Many teens wish they could just pack their bags and head off to the farthest reaches of the world, or study a whole new subject.
Or maybe reality hits that there is an entire life and world ahead that they are in charge of. They may be unsure of what’s next. During high school, they may have felt that they wanted to be an astronaut, engineer, or doctor but now that the reality is here they may question whether they can be happy in that field as a lifelong career. They may have all kinds of voices telling them they can’t do things, or that they should do other things. There are many choices to be made after high school,
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Embrace A Positive Mindset
Based on my experience, I have identified a few key strategies in guiding my children through the significant and often challenging transition of graduation.
First, I encourage them to embrace a mindset of expansive possibility. The famous words of Henry Ford, ” Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right” This principle has a crucial role that our thoughts and beliefs play in shaping our reality.
When graduates believe in themselves and their potential, they are more likely to persevere and succeed. Conversely, a defeatist attitude can swiftly become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Through engaging in meaningful dialogue and offering supportive guidance, we can empower graduates to cultivate a sense of limitless potential, thus setting them up for a successful future with limitless potential.
One book that has particularly resonated with me, and one that is a family favorite that we have read numerous times, is “The Traveler’s Gift” by Andy Andrews. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking guidance and inspiration for personal growth and success. The main character in the story learns about the 7 Decisions for Success, one of which emphasizes the importance of taking action when faced with a choice between doing nothing and making a move. The decision states, “…”When I am faced with a choice of doing nothing or doing something, I will always choose to ACT! I seize this moment. I choose now!”
This process of exploration will help them identify their true passions and aspirations. Despite having earned three degrees, I am still in the process of discovering my true North calling. Nevertheless, I remain committed to continuing to persevere and eliminate options that do not align with my goals. Maybe I will never find that true north calling but at least I have options. I have a choice of careers I can pursue if ever I need to make pivots in my life.
Help Them Celebrate Failures
Guaranteed there will be many new obstacles that they face in this new stage of life. If your child has faced setbacks, it’s important to help them look at the bright side and maintain a positive outlook. For instance, if a desired university declined their application, that doesn’t mean the end of the road. There are plenty of other institutions with exceptional educational programs that could be an even better fit for their unique talents and interests. Similarly, if a job opportunity didn’t pan out, consider it an opportunity to invest more time and energy into academic pursuits. Even if a relationship ended, it can be a valuable chance to focus on personal growth and development. Remember, every closed door presents an opportunity for new and exciting possibilities.
Talk To Them
It’s possible that they may feel overwhelmed. Simply remind them that the only way to move forward is to continue pushing ahead, even if they are unsure of what, where, or how. Encourage them to keep trying and to mark small milestones as they go, as minor successes are frequently more significant, and get them to the end goal. Great things come in small and simple steps.
Listen To Them
This next phase of life is interesting. We, as parents, seek to equip them with the tools necessary to navigate, but they have found a new sense of their own life. I found I needed to do more listening and encouraging. In hopes that I taught them what they needed to know. Consistent preaching to your child about strategies for managing life’s challenges is likely to foster disinterest. Rather, promote open communication by encouraging your teen to confide in you, a trusted educator, or a dependable companion. Engage in genuine dialogue with them concerning how they would handle a specific issue in the real world. We want to be there for them yet let them fly.
How have your teens adjusted to life after high school? Any tips and tricks to help others?