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What are some steps I can take right now in middle school to better my highschool and college education?

Im an 8th grader, people are always talking me to prepare for my future, but I just don’t see how. I can’t get a job in my local area or find any helpful programs. Any one got some advice I could borrow?

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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Charli !

I would like to lend some advice to you. You've come to the right place for it !

My one piece of advice on how you can prepare for high school and college now, is to read and write A LOT. Get familiar with reading and writing a lot because you will have a demand for it in high school and an even greater demand for it in college. As well, get involved in things that require oral presentations like public speaking or presenting class projects. You will most likely be doing this in high school, but inevitably will have to do it in college. So, for now, as you are not in high school yet, it is a matter of developing your skills for the basics that will carry you through.

As for a job, the website Glassdoor may be something that you can use. I have left a link to their page that has jobs for teens. Also, you may want to visit nearby businesses to see if they hire teens your age and if they do, you can apply for a job there. The website Simply Hired has some employment opportunities, too.

You are correct when you said that there are barely any social service agencies where you live. A long-shot would be for you to contact an independent living center in your county for which I have left a link for you below. Normally, an independent living center is a community agency that serves individuals that have a disability but there's no telling what type of programs they have or know about and can refer you to. This is the only thing I can think of to try. Since you are about 13 years old, you will need assistance with this, finding out who is hiring people your age. There doesn't seem to be a Summer Youth Employment Program for your town, but you can inquire in person when you visit to see if anything like that exists for a summer job.

Other than that - freelance. Offer your services as a babysitter, house painter, dog walker, or use any skill you have to work various jobs. I have a feeling once you do the work required to find a job, you will obtain a job you really like.

I hope that this was helpful . Continue asking for advice and I wish you all the best !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

https://www.glassdoor.com/Job/west-valley-city-teen-jobs-SRCH_IL.0,16_IC1157900_KO17,21.htm GLASSDOOR
https://www.simplyhired.com/search?l=west+valley+city%2C+ut&q=teen SIMPLY HIRED
https://agrability.usu.edu/utah-centers-for-independent-living UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY EXTENSION
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Erik’s Answer

Hi Charli,
You don't need a job now to do great things and prepare yourself for college.
There is some great advice above that I whole heartedly agree with. I would only add:
1. Don't lose focus on the extra-curricular activities you enjoy. Whether sports, arts, theater, student body offices, etc. ! Being a well rounded individual is just as important as your academic achievements.
2. Find your balance on where you want to deliver quality results. Example: If you have always wanted to be an engineer, then focus on STEM classes. If you want to be an artist, STEM probably is not for you. In this specific example you still need to take math classes. But if you want to be an artist then getting an A in your core math classes is more important than taking an advanced math class and getting a lower grade. This is only one example of many possible. I hope, however, that it helps illustrate the point.
3. Join a club where you can contribute and have fun. Volunteer with teachers to help with activities at the school. Participating will allow you not only to build relationships with other students and teachers (who can and will provide letters of recommendation and guidance for you), but allow you to explore what you love and start to figure out what kinds of work you may want to do in the future.

Best of luck to you.
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Martha’s Answer

Good for you, Charli, for wanting to take positive steps for your future. And you receiving amazing advice from Michelle. I would like to add/reiterate:
- Michelle directed you to basic skills, such as reading and writing. Remember that these are even important to STEM. I agree completely.
- Taking that a step further, seek academic challenges, such as higher level courses. Not only will you enhance basic skills and gain knowledge, but you will stay accustomed to dealing with challenges.
- Stay curious about the world for a few reasons. One is that being curious makes it easier (dare I say "fun"?) to learn and you will be doing that for the rest of your life. Another is that as your world expands, you will likely have to live and work with people different from you. Being curious about what makes them tick - versus rejecting them because they are different - may make these relationships more productive.
- Develop healthy habits such as eating nutritious food, spending time outside, exercising, and getting enough sleep. These will serve you well for your whole life.
Good luck!
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Nevea’s Answer

This is a great question, thank you for asking it.

At this stage, start to pay attention to the things that you enjoy doing. If you don't mind writing, keep a journal about your experiences. It will come in handy later as you start to decide what careers are most interesting to you.

Some questions that you can answer in your journal:
- What kinds of things do you like to learn? Consider school and also what types of things do you like to learn on your own.
- Do you like learning about new places, things or people?
- When you are doing assignments or projects in school do you like working with other people or by yourself?
- If you had a box of Legos would you rather create something new or follow the instructions on the box?
- Do you like helping people?
- Are you curious about the world around you?
- Do you like making new friends?
- Are you quiet and prefer to work alone?

As an 8th grader you have many years ahead of you. To prepare for your future learn about who you are, how you learn, what types of things are fun for you and what you enjoy about school. There are many careers to choose from and knowing who you are, will help you decide on the best areas to learn more about. Some non traditional examples of careers are:

e.g. If you like working outside and love trees you could become an arborist that studies the health of trees and forests.
If you love pretty colors, furniture and textures you might consider interior design.
If you love languages, people and traveling then maybe you work at the airport as a translator and guide.

Be sure to keep your journal so you can start to think about the areas of interest.
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Claire’s Answer

Hi Charli! The fact that you are posing this question shows that you have an internal drive to succeed, that is something that can't be taught. Good for you. Passion can be an amazing fuel for success too, what do you find really interesting or care about? What subject in school do you both enjoy and excel at? Answering these questions for yourself can be really helpful in creating a successful future for yourself. Also don't forget to enjoy the ride! Make mistakes, try out new things, learn from them, it will teach you a lot.
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