When everyone is telling you to make a choice on your future in school or college, it can feel like the most stressful time in the world. If you live to the average age of 81.5 years (in the UK), you'll make about 850,000,000 choices in that time...
Life is, on average, pretty spoon-fed up until the age of 13, when you're presented with choice in a much more life-affecting way: namely your qualifications (GCSEs, Highers) and the bridge to further ones (A levels, BTECs, Apprenticeships). Our advice is take it slow. Yes you need to make choices in life (and some will be huge), but it is crucial to remember that your career path, ironically, is something you can only look back on when you retire one day. Your life (and the qualification and career choices you make within it) is a solo ultra-marathon, not a 100 metre Olympic sprint against other competitors vying to steal a prize from you. In your ultra-marathon, there will be twists and turns, unexpected opportunities that present themselves, and some tough experiences along the way that you'll never see coming (but that make you stronger in wider life).
When you are presented with choices at 16 and 18, if you're feeling stressed, scared or overwhelmed, know that firstly: that is absolutely normal and doesn't mean there is something wrong with you. Far from it. No one knows how a marathon will turn out when they're planning it out, but the unknown shouldn't make you scared, it should be exciting not knowing the full picture of where your life might go: right now you're stretching and training for this race. Breathe. Sleep well. Get good rest and use your time to plot the starting section of your race by focusing on what you are most curious about: it is usually that book or activity that makes you lose track of time and makes you laugh because you appreciate the people you are around.
Choices should be exciting not scary: they help you develop skills and attitudes each day. Choices are your chance to get what you want from life...or at least at this stage, to have fun experiences to help you explore what those might be. The more you develop a positive attitude, know what life rewards drive you forward, and what your mix of desirable skills are...the more likely you are to lead to a job that doesn't feel like a job, but a hobby you get paid to do...and that's the dream, right? In Push's new employability page, we talk each month to people who do what they love and love what they do. Hop over to read our interview with film and animation director Gemma Yin Taylor...
MOJ TAYLOR is a comedian who started stand up when selected for the BBC's Stand Up If You Dare in 2013 - and was mentored by Mark Dolan and Jasper Carrott. He is the Executive of Push - he has also won a Fringe First award in Edinburgh as an actor. Within Push, he is responsible for overall business development, the selection and training of presenters, and collaborative outreach. He also works closely with Johnny to ensure all the Push framework is deeply informative, but also inspiring and funny. His website is mojtaylor.com.
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