What To Do After Graduating High School
Graduating high school is a huge accomplishment. Counting grade school, you have completed 13 years of education and are now considered an adult, at least in the legal sense. You deserve a chance to sit back and reflect on what you have accomplished.
Many people take it for granted that they will go to college immediately upon graduating high school. That is certainly one possibility, and it is a completely valid choice if that is really what you want. However, there are other paths available to you. You may want to take a completely different path, or you may want to take some time to decide whether college is right for you or prepare yourself for when you eventually attend.
Many students take a gap year between high school and college to spend it living and traveling abroad in a foreign country. It can be a great way to learn more about global citizenship and gain a new perspective on the world.
Traveling abroad for a year can definitely benefit you if you decide to go to college when you get back. It gives you topics to write about for your college admission and scholarship essays, and administrators like to recruit students who are well-rounded and have had significant life experiences. Even if you don't go to college, experience living abroad can help you learn valuable work skills and potentially make you a more desirable employment prospect.
Leverage a Hobby Into Income
Do you have a hobby that you love to do? Maybe you have been practicing a long time and really become proficient at it. Baking, playing piano, or painting are all examples of hobbies at which you could potentially earn some money. It is extremely satisfying to make money at something that you enjoy doing anyway. This could be a way to earn money for college or, depending on how successful you are at it, become a new career.
A lot of young people just entering the workforce underestimate the value of volunteer work. Society teaches that if you aren't getting paid for something, it isn't worth doing, but that isn't true. It can be difficult to find a job if you don't have a lot of prior work experience. Volunteering can be a chance to build your resume and gain experience that can eventually apply to a paid position. Many charitable organizations are in desperate need of volunteers and, while they have standards, do not have such stringent requirements as employers looking for paid workers.
Volunteering also gives you a chance to do something that you are passionate about and gain useful contacts that can help you find a paying job later on in the same field.
Pursue a Vocational Certificate
The career you want may not require a four-year degree from a college or university. You may be able to complete specialized training to earn a certificate or credential that qualifies you to do the work that you want to do in a lot less time. For example, if you are interested in a career in the medical field, you can complete a course to become a certified nursing assistant within a matter of a few weeks. You can start working in your chosen career almost immediately thereafter and gain experience that can help you if you eventually decide to continue your education and seek higher positions in the medical field.
Join the Military
Approach this choice with caution; joining the military isn't like a regular job that you can quit if you don't like it. Research to find out as much as you can beforehand and weigh the various pros and cons. If you do eventually decide that you can make the necessary commitment, the military can be a great career in itself. If you eventually want a civilian career, the practical skills you learn can transfer, and if you decide you want to attend college following your service, the G.I. Bill is a benefit that helps you pay your tuition.
Ultimately, your choice of what to do should be one that you feel satisfied with. Do not give in to pressure from well-meaning family and friends.