Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I'm 12, I'm going to be . . .

For as long as I can remember, I was going to be a vet, when I was 10 or 11 I decided to become an equine vet. My junior year of high school I realized I couldn't be a vet. All this without ever doing a single day of career exploration. I think most kids have some idea of what interests them, and if those interests suit them. I figured out that equine medicine was very interesting to me, but wouldn't suit me--there was no way I could cut into a horse (a person, sure).
The best way to help kids? Give them more classes to choose from--art, music, various sciences, philosophy, math, languages, social sciences, et cetera.
My junior year I got into history and had a great teacher, I thought about going into history and eventually law. But I really struck gold my senior year when I took a semester each of archaeology and anthropology. I hated my high school, but I give them credit for offering courses like that. I found my niche in anthropology. It's something that lets me combine science with people, and that's always interesting. I probably wouldn't have discovered anthro if I hadn't had the opportunity to take an introductory course in high school.
The government is too concerned with testing and numbers; kids are curious, let them explore and find there own way. Encourage curiosity, or in 20 years we'll have a large number of very unhappy accountants (not that accounting is a bad thing, if you like it). Expand the course selection in high schools, let middle schoolers get their feet under them, stop trying to overwhelm them. At 12, you're already taking in a hell of a lot of information about your world. Bound and determined to make a 12 year-old take a look at a career? What happened to career day? Or if they're really curious about a specific job, have them shadow. Don't take-up class time on it. Really, and you want them to pass all those standardized tests, too? Psht.
Worst advice I ever received in high school (from a career counselor, no less): go into accounting or nursing, they're fast growing fields. Yippee. Go into a fast growing field, burn-out in 10 years because you hate your job.


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