Exams are completed, A-Levels are over, the summer has just about to begin - but straight away we have another weight on our shoulders; what now? There are thousands of life paths out there to choose from - the trouble is finding the right one for us.
Most students are constantly facing the stresses of revising, deadlines, juggling school life with social life, as well as looking out for our mental health. These occupy our minds constantly and significantly impacts the choices we make.
With all of these factors eating out of our time, where are students expected to find the time to dedicate themselves to subjects and hobbies they enjoy and how will we know to develop these skills for future use?
The environment around a child will have a huge impact on the nature of their interests and hobbies when they are growing up and developing, which will help guide them towards their initial aspirations as an older adolescent. This covers concepts like experiences, travelling, interactions, involvement and more.
Both teachers and parents, have a moral duty to ensure that children are exposed to as many experiences and opportunities as possible, so to expand their experience of the world and to introduce them to areas which could inspire their pathways.
Inspiring courage in children to explore their environment as well as themselves is important as it positively influences the rate of their learning curve, as well as building on the trust and bond between them and you.
Take your child to music lessons, watch the film they’ve been pestering you about, go on day trips to the historical sights they learned about in school, go to galleries, museums, parks; if this is what it takes for a child to learn to love the world and develop their interests, then it should be enjoyable for the both of you.
Undeniably, there is a heavy expectation for young people to go to university once they have finished their A-Levels and some may feel like there is no other option for post-education other than this, whether it be because our school only caters for university applicants or expectations from families don’t include other alternatives.
Students need to be aware that going to university is not their only option, and that there are increasingly other ways to put our skills and interests to good use. Some of the other options available are:
1. Gap years
Taking a gap year gives us the opportunity to gain or build on skills and experiences, also allowing us to reflect on what we want to do next. If an individual ends up deciding to go to university during this time, it’s a great way to tailor and focus their time towards the discipline they would like to study.
This is often a path for those who have a clear idea of what they want to do. As an apprentice, they work alongside their studies, earning money whilst gaining the required knowledge for their desired field of study.
By going straight into full time work, we can start to acquire key skills and experience that will be useful for our employability, attracting employers and increasing job opportunities for ourselves. Going into work before university gives us time to find out what it is we want to do, so that we can then enroll in a course to develop in the area once we know what it is.
Lots of young people are finding themselves not satisfied with the path they’ve chosen and will begin a completely new one as a fresh start. Because of this, it is imperative that students better understand that this is okay to change, and seek new directions. We must stress that it is never too late to start a new chapter in their lives.
The key is to be active, and to avoid digressing from aims to find what you’re passionate about. Perhaps going to a nearby showing of Shakespeare will rack up your likes for poetry, or a spontaneous trip to the aquarium will uncover your love for marine biology; the possibilities are only restricted if you don’t push yourself.
They say success is dependent on effort. In this case, the effort you put into this will result in your fulfillment with the choices that you make after A-Levels. Everything is decided entirely by you so it is vital you don’t give up at any point and carry on striving for the path that you know is best for yourself.