Life After High School: Set your own path for different careers

The end of the year is nearing and, for seniors, the end of highschool. This leaves 12th graders facing the monolith of a question: What’s next? Where do you take your life after this? There are more options than you may think.

We were preached to that going to a college and getting a bachelor’s degree is the only viable choice for our paths after high school. This is a daunting thought to those of us that don’t do well in a classroom setting and would prefer other options for furthering our education or skill sets. Unfortunately though, many students aren’t made aware of these alternate options and end up going to a university, because that “was the only choice”.

Going to a college is nothing to scoff at and is a great choice for those who want careers inaccessible without a degree, or those who are simply interested in a course that can only be found at a university. However, for the lot that don’t want to go, the options are wide and varied for what to do next.

The most obvious route other than going off to college would be going to a vocational or trade school. These are institutions that go through a specific course for students to practice and to learn a certain skill set, to become certified in that field.

The most popular choices of a trade school in this area range from welding to automotive to HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). These are great options, because they are cheaper than most colleges and also have much shorter times required to graduate. You get your equivalent to a degree faster and cheaper.

Another option is art or film school. Many young artists and creators (from painters and sculptors, to directors, animators and performers) are forced into a degree plan and career they have zero interest. This could result from parents or guardians telling them their passions “can’t pay the bills” to society as a whole making them feel that the odds for them reaching success is too stacked against them.

That’s all non-sense. If you are good at what you do, and have a true passion and interest it, you will succeed with it. You might not be winning Oscars or having art exhibits at museums, but you will enjoy what you’re doing.

If you want to give back to the community or world, you can become a career volunteer. It should be noted that some organizations require degrees, but a large majority of them only require your time. Whether you stay local, building up your community or go abroad, travelling across countries helping people everywhere, you can make a positive difference in the world without ever having to get a degree.

The saying of “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life” has been repeated thousands of times by millions of people over the years, and for good reason. When you enjoy your job, it becomes less of hassle you have to put up with everyday, and instead becomes apart of your life that you’re glad to do.

If you hate being a bank teller and instead always saw yourself playing in a band or in the kitchen of a restaurant, then quit being miserable and start being happy doing what you love. If you always wanted to work on cars but are stuck in a cubicle, than start learning how to be a mechanic and stop wasting time sitting somewhere you despise.

The world is open to us. We decide where to go, whether that be a college or another route of our choosing.