Once upon a time, not that long ago, I spent a number of years as a high school career counselor. For the most part I helped young people figure out what they were going to do after they graduated, and then how they were going to make it happen. More often than not I met with kids who:
- Were struggling to find some sort of direction.
- Hated school for any number of reasons.
- Felt that college (in the traditional sense, which is all they knew) wasn’t for them right now, if ever.
- Had big plans, but didn’t know how to make them happen.
- Were identified as “unmotivated” by the “powers that be”.
- Had little, if any, relationship with their guidance counselor.
- I could go on, but the list is endless.
Hundreds of thousands of kids are falling through the cracks and struggling to find a direction after high school. So many are:
- Going to college because it’s expected of them.
- Dropping out of college for more reasons than I can possibly go into here.
- Graduating from college and are either unemployed, or are in a job totally unrelated to their major. Why? Because they need the money to pay for the ridiculous student loans they’ve run up, along with everything else they need to pay for.
- High school graduates that just fell into a job just so they could support themselves.
- Unemployed, or working part-time at some minimum wage job, and getting huge flack from the adults in their lives.
- Losing motivation about their ability to be successful so they’re becoming emotionally stuck and discouraged.
- You fill in the blank. You know you can.
This isn’t something new, but it’s definitely not ok. So, how does this happen? In my opinion, like it or not, in a lot of cases it’s because they’re uninformed. They don’t have the knowledge and resources that should be made available to them, that are relevant to them personally, so they can make educated and informed decisions about their future.
I could go on a rant as to why, but it would take too long so I’ll save it for a blog post. But I will say that in many high schools, career guidance that legitimately works is pretty much not happening. School administration will cry foul, I just know it. They’ll say they give kids the info, repeatedly, but the kids don’t hear it or act on it. That’s totally fair, and often true. But let’s get real, people.
Teenager’s brains, many of them anyway, aren’t thinking about their future at 14, or even 18 sometimes. It comes down to biology. Their brain hasn’t quite developed the cognitive abstract-thinking skills necessary to consider what the hell they’re going to do 2 weeks from now (unless it’s a party), never mind 2 years from now. Adults are expecting kids to think, plan, and behave like adults. Not happening.
Give kids and young adults awareness, knowledge, resources, and relevance. Get them excited about what they’re great at, love to do, and what they find relevant to themselves. Take advantage of the teenage ego and have it work in their favor. Give them the tools and resources to help them make decisions, and then help connect them with those resources so they can build something. Something they’ve chosen, and something they own. Their decisions. Their way.
That’s what I value. That’s what I’m doing. That’s the meaning of Bhlue.
Stick around, I think you’ll learn alot.
That would be me, Michele Verley. Here are the basics so you get it that I know what I’m talking about…