Wherever you are on your journey, whether you’re in Year 11 and starting to think about what lies ahead or in Year 13 with big decisions knocking at your door, it can be difficult to know what’s the right path for you.
Especially when there are so many options. We’re talking work, apprenticeships, uni, degree apprenticeships, diplomas, gap year and travel, volunteering, internships…
The list seems pretty endless, but that shouldn’t be a bad thing. There are so many different pathways out there that it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll find something perfect for you.
If you’re unsure where your future lies, spend a little time focusing on yourself. What do you enjoy? What would get you out of bed every day? Do you have a dream career or life aspiration in mind?
It doesn’t have to be concrete, it could be as flexible as knowing you’re creative, tech-savvy and love movies, so you might one day see yourself in the film and media industry.
Or you love independence and innovation but hate early mornings, so maybe you’re aspiring to start your own company.
Once you’ve figured out what makes you tick, it’s a lot easier to map out how to get there.
Sure, some hard skill heavy jobs (we’re talking doctor, solicitor, engineer) might expect a uni degree to even get your foot in the door. But don’t get stuck thinking that uni is the “best” route.
Last month, the Independent reported on a survey conducted on 1,500 school leavers which found that students felt pressured into going to uni — ‘two-thirds were urged to go into higher education by teachers, while almost six out of 10 said their parents wanted them to pick that option.’
The route you choose after leaving full-time education can pave the way for the rest of your life, so the decision needs to be on you. Sure, it’s great to have the support and advice from your teachers, careers advisors and parents, but it’s not their journey. It’s all yours.
And sure, uni is the perfect choice for some, but it’s not the only choice out there.
As Rob Alder, head of business development for AAT who ran the survey said, ‘many may not realise that there are alternatives available, including high-quality apprenticeships and trainee schemes which can unlock the door to a long and successful career.’
Not convinced? Rob goes on to say that ‘in the accounting industry, for example, we see thousands of people each year who left school at 18, got a job and qualified a year earlier without the student debt that graduates built up.’
Don’t let anyone push you down a route that you’re not fully invested in. Be the captain of your own ship.
Want some more information if you’ve really got No Idea where to go from here? Head over to the Push website for all the hints and tips on working out what’s best for you.
LUCY HARDING is an English Literature grad and an MA Publishing student at UCL. She is passionate about international relations and cultural diversity, having worked closely with her university’s Erasmus society to support European students. She also spent a year abroad studying at California State University: Long Beach
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