Are you limiting yourself?

Choosing what to do when you finish school is hard. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying (or has had a lifelong dream to be a policeman/nurse/astronaut).

There’s a lot to consider, and sometimes you just need to go with your gut.

Let me explain:

When choosing what to do after school, students often take lots of factors into consideration. This might mean that they pick something their parents like, something that earns lots, or something that lets them stay inside their comfort zone.

And don’t get me wrong, all that stuff is important.

But it’s not as important as following your dreams.

Last week I helped a current Year 12 student pick her preferences for uni. She likes video and animation and wanted to find a course that would let her get a job, perhaps in marketing.

So we searched for degrees and selected 4 courses in similar fields, that had an Indicative OP (Queensland’s version of the ATAR) she felt she would achieve.

It was very sensible.

Once we’d locked in those choices she still had 2 preferences left, so I asked her something:

“If you could do anything in the world, and you didn’t have to worry about how much it cost, or how much you would earn, what would you do?”

Her first thought was that she would lie on the beach all day (duh), but once we dug a bit deeper she told me she’d always dreamed of being a pilot.

Flying is unrelated to video, so I was a bit surprised at first. But I told her that she could definitely be a pilot. She’s bright, full of energy, and motivated.

I don’t think she’d ever thought becoming a pilot was an option before our conversation. She’d crossed it out for all the wrong reasons.

Up until this point I’d been pretty much steering the ship, suggesting options and finding the course codes, but she quickly took over. She found a local Bachelor of Aviation, and locked it in as her 2nd preference, putting it before most of her chosen video and marketing courses.

By the next day, she’d found scholarships and cadetships that could help her meet the costs of studying to be a pilot and was pumped to be following her dreams.

How does this apply to you?

If you’re thinking about your post-school options, then GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO DREAM. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Year 12, Year 10, or Year 6, work out what you really love, and start working towards it.

Often students choose a path that they don’t love because they put the wrong things first.

Here’s a list of things you shouldn’t think about:

Your parents think it’s a good idea

Let them live their lives, and you live yours. By all means listen to what they have to say, but at the end of the day it’s your life, so make sure you love the decision you make

You think it’s a ticket to a good income

I’ve got some news – many careers with ‘high’ salaries are starting to fade out, so now the average salary for lawyers is around just $63,000, which is the same as a primary school teacher. If you work hard and think outside the box you can earn a good income in any field

You’re expecting a good mark and don’t want to ‘waste’ it on an easy course

Getting a good ATAR/OP opens up your options, but if you’re not excited about a course don’t choose it just because it looks good, which leads me into…

The course/job/institution is prestigious

So? Your ego is important, but not as important as being happy, fulfilled, and motivated. A job may look glamorous, but once you do it all day every day the shine can wear off.

Here’s an example – I used to be an Air Force Air Traffic Controller. I got to control fast jets, military helicopters, and more, but I wasn’t passionate about it, so I left, and now I get to help students find great careers they love

Peer pressure

Sometimes friends stay in touch after school, but most people change friends and find new people they connect with throughout their life. Find your own path – it doesn’t mean you’ll lose those friends necessarily, and it could open up opportunities to connect with new and different people

The course is expensive

Sometimes studying can cost lots. And if that’s an issue for you then it might influence your decision. But there are lots of financial resources to help you overcome the cost of an expensive course – look for scholarships, and if you can’t see one then ask the institution you want to study at if they’ll make one up for you. HECS-HELP allows you to defer the costs of studying, then pay them back interest-free once you start earning an income. You’ve got options

Before you do anything else, ask yourself the same question I asked –

“If you could do anything in the world, and you didn’t have to worry about how much it cost, or how much you would earn, what would you do?”

Work out what that thing is before you consider anything else, and you’ll be on the right track.