The summer serves as a stress-free oasis away from all of the responsibilities of high school. I know my freshman is in denial that in a couple of weeks the sleeping late, swimming, hanging with friends is
O-V-E-R! But the stress that really faces the HS student is about to hit and it’s not the new school schedule or teachers, it’s the stress of dealing with their peers. The ones who seem to “believe” they have their lives ALL figured out.
We often think families provide a majority of the stress of making career decisions but the reality is its other students. The ones who call off their class ranking as if it’s their phone number. The ones who have visited 15 campuses over the summer on a road trip across the US, ranking each in order with a detailed spreadsheet. The ones who have known what they wanted to do since they were 5 years old. The truth is they are not the majority and it’s OKAY!
What are the pressure buttons that keep our young adults up at night? And how do we help them keep perspective? By providing facts which calm their souls when encountering these issues.
Pressure Button #1: “I Have My Life All Figured Out!”
75-85% of ALL college students will change their major in the first year. There are 500 students to each HS counselor in San Antonio. When I talk with groups or my clients, I ask, “What formal career guidance have you had?” 99% say none. As a result, to think their friends have it all figured out is not reality. Often times, the “projection of confidence” that we have our life mapped out puts stress not only on other young adults but is a lot to carry when young adults begin to have self-doubt. It’s OKAY to not know what you want to do!
Pressure Button #2: “I Scored X on my SAT/ACT and I’m Getting Tutored to Raise My Score.”
Many schools are becoming “Test Optional” specifically for this reason. Kids are “gaming” the testing system. A study was done over 20 years on the SAT and what they found was there was a direct correlation to 1) how much the family made, 2) the education level of the mother. The higher the family income and education level of the mother…the higher the SAT. Why? Because they have the money for tutors and the mother “typically” drives the educational journey. Do NOT let these scores define your future!
The College Board over the years has held a firm stance that taking the test multiple times does not increase scores. Well, just this month, they changed their tune. Now they recommend taking it twice. I’m all about doing your best but do your best in your HS classes. Work to get outside experience that builds you as a well-rounded person. There are over 3500+ colleges in the US so there is a place for you. Don’t get caught up in the “score” game. Cherish your own talents.
Pressure Button #3: “I Don’t Know WHAT To Do With My Life! Someone, PLEASE Help!”
Young adults do NOT need to figure out their life on their own. I’m so passionate about this topic that often I find I need to dial it back. But I get calls all the times from parents who have tried their best to help their child. We, as parents, have done everything possible to make sure they took the right classes, participated in sports/the arts, etc., and we’ve made sure they have a well-rounded college application because we feel the stakes are high. Ask any parent if they are stressed for their young adult and the answer, if honest, is YES! Parents are not trained professionals in career exploration, although we are THE most influential person in a young adult’s decision-making process.
I had a young adult come to me this month who shared how she heard about Reeder Consulting. It was in a group chat with her friends. She asked for help in figuring out her direction and a friend told her about us. Young adults helping young adults! I LOVE IT! I love that she said she was struggling and another student helped provide a solution.
The pressure on our young adults as they head back to school is enormous. But the great news is they do not need to stress alone. We provide empirically-based assessments and aptitude testing to “start” the conversation. It gives us context to the much more important piece which is the dialog the young adult is craving. Who are they? What truly interests them? What options even exist in the world? And most importantly, how do I KNOW I can do this career?
These are the most important conversations a high school student will ever have and they deserve the dedicated time to learn, ask questions and actually BE confident they know their path.