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What can I be doing at 16 to better myself for college or a career?

I am only 16 years old, but I am 2 years off of college and want to start bettering myself so I am not lost when the time comes. career-advice

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John’s Answer

Austin, is right. Many students change there major at least once while pursing a degree. Doing research now, job shadowing, and internships can all help you be prepared for college and or career. If you have done all the research you will have an informed idea of what you are getting into, which will help you stay passionate about it you have a tough class or day.

Life skills like cooking and cleaning are good too. I learned the hard way and burnt myself out on pizza, then decided it was time to find some recipes...lol. You will be fine! You're asking the right questions early.
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Chris’s Answer

Great Question!!! Well, there are several things. The very fact that you are thinking about it says a lot! #1 you can beginning thinking about what you want to do and does it require a college degree. One thing I have learned from other and have experienced myself is that looking for a job is a full time job. Also, your career or a job will take about 40-50% of your waking hours, doing, driving to, thinking about, etc and so it only makes sense that you you spend time up front really getting this decision right! So, what can you do?

Well for starters think about your parents, your friends' parents, other adults you know and think about their lifestyle, their job and combine that with what you enjoy, and think you want to do. Depending on the job, you can begin by interviewing people in that job. Ask questions, like what they do, what they like about it, what they don't like about it, etc. And match that up with what you enjoy. I would take a moment, perhaps right now, and plan a time to think about your life. What do you like to do. What are you passionate about. What you want to do.

Think about your uniqueness - examine your tools...your skills. What do you consistently do well? Your ability reveals and uncovers your destiny. REALLY think about those questions and when you have some answers.....then embark on your journey.

Another thing is your grades. If you want to go to college, you need to focus on good grades and good study habits. If you don't want to go to college, then consider options to apprentice or learn a trade or to spend some time at a vocation school that will be a place you can go instead of high school on certain days.
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Austin’s Answer

Hey Connor

There are many different things you can do to help prepare yourself for college!

Enrolling in dual credit or AP classes will provide you with experience and credits you can take with you into most colleges

It helps to start narrowing down on fields of study you are interested in, so when the time comes to choose a major and college, you'll have a better idea on which is the right choice for you

Even minor things like starting to do your own laundry, cooking your own meals, or learning how to properly allocate your time. These may be things you don't have to worry about now, but are important skills to have as you enter the next chapter of your life

-Austin
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Simeon’s Answer

I'd learn how to manage my time, money, and relationships well.

For time, try to look back once a week/month and look back on how you spent your time. Try to see if you spent a lot of time on things that weren't related to your values or goals. Self-care/relaxation is a valid goal, so make sure to differentiate between doing things you need/enjoy and things that are just time wasters. Try to get in the habit of taking your big goals and breaking them up into much smaller goals that you can accomplish one week or month at a time.

For money, there is a similar process. Log into your bank account once a month and look through your expenses. Try to get to the place (more likely post-education) where you start ensuring that your expenses do not exceed your income from month to month. And, of course, do what you can to avoid taking on debt that you're not sure you can take advantage of long-term.

For relationships, learn to take risks and reach out to new people. It'll be important for both personal and professional success. The friends you make early on will be the ones who will reach out and take care of you throughout the course of your life. I've had five jobs since graduating and I couldn't have gotten any of them without a friend or connection. So learn the art of networking. Try to focus on getting to know people in the same situation as you and focus on getting to know the people you have the best chemistry with. It's no good trying to just hand your business card to as many people as possible. People need a reason to remember you and to want to help you, so focus on building connections with people that enjoy your company.
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Spencer’s Answer

As far as schooling goes make sure you are building strong study habits. Like how to take organized notes during lectures, how to create study guides before exams especially finals, and proper time management (this is the most important one). It is hard to realize how important that is when you are in high school because all of the courses you are taking are spread out over the course of an entire year. When I was in High School I was part of the Gifted and Talented program, took all AP courses, and did dual credit at a local community college, and I will say that the biggest shock to the system was simply how much faster college classes move. The essentially take everything you learn in a year time period and condense it down into 5 months along with more homework and projects than you currently have now.

Don't let that discourage you though. If you start creating a solid organized note taking method, and can manage your time properly you will be totally fine.

Lastly don't stress and work 100% percent of the time. Make sure that you build time into your life and schedule to relax, see your friends, or go out and have fun. This is key to staying at your best because it is very easy to burn out regardless if that is in work or school.

Good luck, and given that you are asking these types of questions now I think that you are probably closer to being ready for college than you think you are.
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