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is it ok to not know what to do after high school?


Hey Anicia, It is definitely okay to not know what you'll be doing after high school, though if it is worrying you, it may be helpful to talk with your high school academic counselor as they can help sometimes. I have had many friends not know what they wanted to do after high school and some did a gap year to explore their interests, while some jumped into college and have changed their majors many times. A lot of students have a hard time picking as there is many options, but i wouldn't stress over it too bad, think about something you're passionate about or something you may want to stay away from as your academic counselor may ask you. But it is okay to not know exactly what you want to do as this is a big step and there's so many options! Aspen Z.

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fatiha’s Answer

Lot of high school students do not know what to do after high school and this is normal in my opinion. Even when you will be adult, you will keep questioning yourself.
There are millions of jobs, in various industries. Thus, don't rush and do your best to find what's the most suitable for you.
First of all, bear in mind that in your life, throughout your career, you must give yourself time to take stock. This is really important to take decisions.
1°/ Step back and to think about what you like and what you don't like. The best way to do so, is to explore yourself : try new hobbies, such as sports, creative activities, reading, meeting people, etc. Do it randomly and thus you will discover different universes. For example, try to read different types of books : go to the library and choose different topics. You will definitely love some, some will inspire you, and you will probably hate some others. To keep track, you can journal, it will be really helpful.
2°/ Be curious and ask people around you what is their job, in which company they work and what a day at work looks like. This will give you an idea about different jobs in various industries. Every-time you meet someone, do not hesitate to ask. You can also ask what they have studied before, if they went to uni or not, and how they've found their way.
3°/ Make a decision and go for it: if you journal, then take a look at your notes and make a clear picture of what you like and what you don't. Accordingly, match your skills with the opportunities. You might not have all the skills for it, but life is made of continuous improvements.
Be open to try new things is the best advice I can give you.
Good luck!

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Nicole’s Answer

Yes, absolutely! In my experience, you are still learning about yourself and your interests, and that can continue well into your twenties. After high school I had ideas of what interested me and I knew I needed to earn an income without other funding from my family, but I didn't know what I wanted to do as a profession or career yet. I also knew that I wanted to go to college if possible to continue to educate myself and prepare for a career, but I did not want to go until I knew more about what I wanted to do.

So I started out with trying a few things on 'for size.' I liked cooking and enrolled in a community college Food Service course (with some money from my high school job and financial aid). It was a great course, but I realized I didn't want to become a chef. I had some interest in business and took typing and bookkeeping also at a local community college (good basic skills to have!) and in the meantime still determined to ensure I had income found jobs at retail stores and then finally a job I really enjoyed in customer service for a bank. It was then I started to focus in a profession of true interest in business management and with help from tuition assistance started college. I was 4 years out of high school at this point.

Every story is different and many do not include college. The message is really to explore ideas and to not give up!

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Doug’s Answer

Yes it's okay to not know.

Try different things. Learn more about your self and what you like and don't like. Life is a journey you can always change the path. Lots of adults change their careers later in life.

Subscribe to websites, articles, forums, groups, etc that you are interested in. You'll learn a lot about different topics and fields with out having to work in that industry.

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Anicia ! I definitely think so! Sometimes students are forced into making sure they have their route completely planned, but if you are unsure it just means you haven't decided what you'd like to do and that's completely okay. It's better to take some time to yourself rather than do something because it's the next thing you need to do. I had a classmate who was a freshmen with me in chemistry during college, and he took gap years after high school because he was uncertain. I remember him very well because he was so sure of himself and what he wanted to do after taking some time off after high school. He planned to become a doctor and he was 26 in college! I think it doesn't matter either, if you have a plan then go for it but if you need time that's okay too, especially now with a lot of uncertainty. I would maybe try to get some experience in areas that interest you, maybe volunteer and find a part time job if you can while reflecting on your past experiences to see what you like. In the end the only person that can make the best choice for yourself is you! So remember to not compare others' paths with yours and focus on your own!

I hope this helps, I wish you the best!

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Jasanpreet Kaur’s Answer

Definitely! It is fine. A little bit of meander in the initial year won't be of any harm. Moreover, you will acquire knowledge of different domains, which will further assist you in choosing the field which is meant for you.

Just remember a few things:
1. Take it easy.
2. Go with the flow.
3. Don't compare with your friends or anyone (Specially, the one who are determine about what they want in their life.)

Most importantly, don't be in a hurry to choose something which you might regret later on. As every opportunity has a learning and experience.

Good luck!


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Liuv’s Answer

Yes it's okay. You just need to realize that the moment you graduate the time starts ticking. Lots take 1 year off to save, buy a car, or just need a break. Those never come back or at least in my world didn't. Go to Community College look at the 2 year careers also at the transferrable degrees. Take intro classes like Intro to Business, Intro Biology, Intro to Communications, Intro to Criminal Justice, etc. take some classes so you decide what will interest you. Imagine studying something you do not like and its 2 AM you have to be up 6 AM to go to work so that after work you can go to school to come back and study until its 2 AM again. If you decide not to go to college learn a trade, make a course, and set up 2-3 incomes from that trade.

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Karissa’s Answer

Absolutely! Best thing is for you to explore and try things that you think might be interesting! You never know until you try. If you end up loving it then awesome! But if you don't like it then know you know! Everyone had a journey to take! Make sure you are always proactive in trying different things so you will always learn and grow!

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Erin’s Answer

Hi Anicia,

It is perfectly fine to not know what you want to do after high school. In fact, it's very common. College is a great place to figure out what you want to do. In your first years, you can take a lot of general course that will expose you to a lot of different fields and career paths. You can also take advantage of your college's career counseling; someone can help you weigh your options, consider your interests, prepare you for interviews, etc.

If you don't think that college is the right next step, there are a lot of resources you can take advantage of in high school as well. High school counselors can give you resources to choose what the right next step is for you.

The important thing in trying to figure out your career is to find things that fit with your interests. Not everyone gets into their dream career right away but if you can stay true to your interests and your passions, then you'll have a better experience as you navigate your career.

I hope this helps and I wish you well in your career journey!

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Paul Anthony’s Answer

It's very much ok not to know what you want to do after high school, but it's not ok to stay that way. If you don't know what you want to do, you should start exploring. Try job shadowing, ask the adults in your life about their careers. You don't have to know what to do, just don't do nothing. College is not always the answer for everyone, but if you're still exploring by the time you graduate high school I would suggest looking at community college classes that are either in a field/trade you're exploring or will transfer to a bigger school if you choose to go that route. Look for the value in what your next step is, 4 year colleges have gotten extremely expensive, and unless you have someone else paying for it (scholarship, family) you'll racking up debt that you have to pay off later. That said, if you figure it out, college can still be a great choice. Just have a career in mind before you go.

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Elisabetta’s Answer

Hi Anicia , I want to reassure you that it is absolutely normal to not know what to do after high school. Also, it possible that you choose a path and decide to change it shortly after. We change and grow, it's normal to develop new interests, passion and strengths. My main advice would be:
1. Take it easy - no decision is irreversible
2. Write down fields/things you both ENJOY and are GOOD at (painting? building things? fixing things?)
3. For each, make sure you understand if and what majors/degrees or courses would be needed (a quick Google search normally helps here); browse on universities or teaching centers websites. Reading degrees summary and descriptions helped me a lot when I was choosing my university degree.
4. Look for people doing jobs that you think you would like and reach out to them (friends of friends, family's acquaintances, neighbours, etc): they can really help in making you understand what the day-to day looks like!

All the best

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Samantha’s Answer

It is 100% perfectly okay to not know what you want to do after high school. If you are really unsure I would take the time to think about things that you enjoy doing in your free time or even in/out of school. I would then talk to a guidance councilor, parent or even some teachers or coaches/mentors. This can help you find professions with your interests combined. Even when you know exactly what you want to do after high school that can change too. There are so many options to choose from you just have to find the path that is best for you and find yourself along the way. That is going to be the best way to know what you want to do!

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