Scary Stuff: Feeling Lost about Life After High School
You may have mixed feelings about your final year of high school. On one hand, you’re extremely excited to be in the home stretch of your high school career and it feels like the world is in the palm of your hand. On the other hand, your stomach might be knots because you honestly don’t know which way to go and what lies ahead of you. If it makes you feel better, most people are in this exact situation. Even with people who believe they have it all figured out, they may still have doubts about their situation. Take comfort in knowing that you have many different options. In fact, they’re virtually endless. That can seem overwhelming, but let’s break down the pros and cons of every option after you graduate high school and you can begin to decide which option is best for you.
College or University
The option that you will hear most often is the “higher learning” path, which means taking a few years for college or university. Many teachers and guidance counselors will push this option because in the traditional mindset, going to a good college or university was the only way you could succeed and find a good job. While this is not necessarily the case (in fact, some graduates have trouble finding work in their fields and are left with a low-paying retail job and a mountain of student debt), pursuing a bachelor’s degree in a field that interests you can certainly give you a leg up. According to Universities Canada, as many as 1.7 million students were enrolled in Canadian universities in 2017 on either a full-time or part-time basis. However, it comes with a price tag, costing from $2,400 per academic year up to as much as $6,100 a year for a year in a Bachelor’s program, according to Ontariocolleges.ca.
Get Straight To Work
Not everyone can afford to go to college right away, so you might need to save up some money with a part-time or full-time job. This can be a pretty attractive for students who worked their way through high school since they already have a job. Also, if you’re someone who doesn’t know what they want to do right away, working a job can buy you some time before you decide to make that next life decision.
Enter the Trades
Maybe you want to enter a career that is not only free, but actually pays you to learn and excel through the apprenticeship and journeyman levels. If you’re a person that enjoys working with your hands and installations and repairs are processes that appeal to you, then the trades might be the perfect choice for you. There is a great demand for young people in the trades to replace an aging workforce, so you can count on being paid reasonably well, the median salary standing around $53,000 per year, according to Neuvoo.
Or Just Take a Year to Yourself
There’s nothing wrong with taking a year off of everything to figure things out. You certainly don’t want to rush into a college program only to drop out halfway through or pursue the trades when you have no interest in the job. A gap year can have you taking on volunteer positions, taking part in an internship to build on your resume, or to just develop your hobbies. When you don’t want to rush and you would like to take your time, a gap year might be a solid option.
Above all, what to do after high school isn’t a clear-cut decision and nothing is a once-size-fits-all solution. Understand that there are many options out there and discuss these potential solutions with people you trust before you make the post-graduate leap.