College years are a unique and special time especially if you go away to school as they give you the opportunity to be more independent and have the "college experience" while also not having all of life's responsibilities. If you are not sure of you career path I would attend community college and take "pre-requisite" classes that are generally required for any college degree.
Mostly, whatever you decide to do enjoy the experience. Life happens fast!
All the best!!
If you are in junior high or middle school, start looking into things that interest you online and see what kind of education, training or knowledge you would need. If you are in high school, you should be able to take a skills or aptitude test that shows you what areas you excel at and perform the best in. Also, check to see if your school participates in "running start" programs that basically enroll you in courses that will give you college credit at no cost. These will usually be on a career path such as engineering, nursing or finance. In New Mexico there are career paths such as tourism, film, healthcare, finance and construction. The running start and AP courses are quite challenging but can be very rewarding. If you are a self starter and determined to succeed, these are great options for you.
Money and a job are not the only reasons to go to college. Learning about philosophy, art and other cultures can expand your world view and make you a well rounded person. It gives you an opportunity to network with like minded students that share your interests and introduces you to other ways of looking at the world. That being said, not everyone wants or needs to go to college to achieve their goals. It can be a costly experience to enroll in school if you do not know what you want to study or major in. Do not let anyone pressure you into taking on such a big expense if you are not sure you want to go to college. There is no one that is going to remind you that assignments are due and a D or F in just one class can damage your GPA for a good long while.
If there is someone in particular who you notice and admire that has gone to college or is enrolled right now, I would encourage you to talk to them and get their opinion.
Completing a college degree shows employers that you have discipline, an ability to think critically and can see a long term commitment through to completion.
Many well paying jobs require or prefer some college education but not all. Maybe getting out in the work force in a part time job can give you experience and motivation to explore all of your options.
Patricia recommends the following next steps:
1. **Higher Earning Potential:** On average, individuals with a college degree tend to earn higher salaries over their lifetimes compared to those without degrees. This can provide financial stability and a higher standard of living.
2. **Career Opportunities:** Many professions and career paths require a college degree as a minimum qualification. College can open doors to a wider range of job opportunities and career advancement.
3. **Skill Development:** College provides an environment for in-depth learning and skill development. You gain expertise in your chosen field of study, as well as critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills that are valuable in any career.
4. **Personal Growth:** College is a time for personal growth and exploration. It exposes you to diverse perspectives, challenges your beliefs, and fosters independence and self-discovery.
5. **Networking:** College offers the chance to build a valuable professional network. You'll meet peers, professors, and mentors who can provide guidance, support, and future career opportunities.
6. **Access to Resources:** Colleges offer access to libraries, research facilities, laboratories, and experts in various fields. These resources can aid in academic pursuits and research projects.
7. **Specialized Knowledge:** For careers in fields like medicine, engineering, law, and education, college provides specialized knowledge and training that's essential for success.
8. **Cultural Exposure:** College campuses often host a diverse student body, exposing you to different cultures, backgrounds, and ideas, which can broaden your horizons and promote cultural awareness.
9. **Personal Fulfillment:** Pursuing a college education can be personally fulfilling. It allows you to delve into subjects you're passionate about, explore your interests, and achieve academic goals.
10. **Adaptability:** In today's rapidly changing job market, having a college degree can make you more adaptable and better equipped to learn new skills, making you more competitive in a dynamic workforce.
It's important to note that while college can be valuable, it's not the only path to success. Many careers do not require a traditional four-year college degree, and vocational training, apprenticeships, and certification programs can provide alternative routes to fulfilling and well-paying jobs. The key is to consider your individual goals, interests, and career aspirations when deciding whether or not college is the right choice for you.