The teen years are a time to imagine the possibilities. Most kids feel invincible and anything seems possible in the golden days of youth. However, their self-image is too often based in fairytale and not grounded in experience.
Summer is the perfect time to help our dreamers turn into doers.
Do they think they want to go into medicine? Help them go on medical missions, volunteer in a hospital, do research in biology, interview doctors in various fields or better yet, job shadow.
Are they interested in construction management? Help them find a job swinging a hammer for a small construction company, let them plan and execute a construction project at home, show them how to make arrangements to interview or job shadow people in the field from salesmen to carpenters.
Do they think they want to major in art? Sign them up for classes, help them start a home-based business, encourage them to find contests to enter, find a mentor.
Do they have ambitions to be a writer? If so, they need to be writing daily. Help them find a writing club to join, find a mentor who is willing to critique their work, interview various people in the field: editors, booksellers, poets, professors, or freelance writers.
Kids whose lives are rich in experience will know themselves and make better career choices. They have learned what they are good at and where they are weak. After talking with many people, students have a better understanding of all sides of a profession, the good and the ugly. The hard slog of becoming proficient as a writer, artist, or craftsman will knock the glow off romanticized professions and teach them if they have what it takes to succeed.
These kinds of discoveries are not usually made in college, they are made in the process of real living.
I have found that students try on many hats before finding one that fits. After researching, working in, and job shadowing multiple professions, kids have a better idea of what they want. Thus, they make better college choices.
Help your kids use their summer wisely by injecting a healthy dose of reality into their dreams!
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