It’s graduation season. Last week and this week many high school students tossed their caps into the air and saw their futures unfold right before them. Attending CAT Pickering’s graduation last Monday made me think about high school.
Then I was reminded that I graduated high school 10 years ago. I used to think it was just yesterday I was saying goodbye to my high school friends and I was excited about starting college. As I grow closer to 30, I’m starting to feel like that is quite some time that has passed by.
I remember talking with family about high school. Some family members hated it. I didn’t hate everything about it. Junior and senior year were my favorite because I learned who my true friends were and I enjoyed driving to school.
At times, high school felt like prison. You needed a pass to go anywhere. You couldn’t go anywhere for lunch. During my senior year of high school we had two bomb threats so the school shut down a number of restrooms since that is where they found the incriminating letter. Only three people were allowed in the restrooms that were still open at one time. For me going to college not only meant getting a good education, but becoming more independent and enjoying some freedom.
I remember high school graduation being less scary than college graduation. Life and responsibility get more real after college ends. Now college graduation is getting a little scarier with the economy and less jobs available.
With all of that competition out there, I think one way for high school graduates to get ahead is to get as much education as they can. Pick up a minor along with the major at college. Get involved in a student organization. Apply for an internship or two, even if you have to do it for free. Internships help paint a picture of what the future job will be like and you can build your portfolio. If you impress managers at the internship, they can serve as references or key connections if a job opens there.
I was fortunate to land a job basically right after I graduated. I completed a summer internship while I was at college and persistently sent out resumes to various newspapers until I caught word of one that was hiring.
I encourage young men and women to network as much as possible. You can only find so much with online job searches. Word of mouth is how I found out about the various jobs I’ve had.
My last piece of advice is believe in yourself no matter how tough school or the eventual job hunting gets. And good luck with your goals!