Students are often pressured to settle up a career path at an early age. Starting in middle school, they are encouraged to specialize in a field even though they are not yet aware of their academic abilities. Nonetheless, the pressure continues throughout their middle school years.
So, by the time high school rolls around, there is great demand for students to know exactly what their chosen field is going to be. At this pivotal point, they must decide if they are more interested in a STEM career (science, technology, engineering, and math,) or a career stemming from English. Yet many students are unsure which direction they prefer.
They are also expected to choose classes, clubs, and extra-curricular activities that all complement one other. This can be confusing for some kids who have no idea which way they want to go. However, other students are certain on where to begin and feel their lives come together. One thing is for certain – everyone has their own journey ahead of them.
Even still, many students feel that choosing a career path early in their education stressful and unfair, while others actually find it less exhausting. Still, this decision is something that must be reckoned with.
Elisa Taylhardat is a sophomore at Coral Reef Senior High. She finds that by offering such a wide range of different options available, the school system is actually helping with such stresses – by providing a platform whereby students get a sense of what they really like and do not like. Providing a wide range of options to students helps them find their true passions and allows them to make the best choices.
Taylhardat has a general path in mind and does not feel pressured to know exactly what her future career path is. She is also familiar with many of her peers who identify well with a club and who can develop skills from these clubs, which in turn prepares them well for college.
For example, a student who is passionate about the environment will gravitate toward earth club. Students who are passionate in a certain field do not find stress in the college application process since it comes easily to them.
Many students also worry about having to choose between a field that will bring them a great salary or just great happiness. They might think math and science are their strengths, fields in which they can make a lot of money – yet they enjoy English more. Students are often conflicted between choosing to follow their passion or becoming more financially successful.
Ms. Kiely, Coral Gables High School chemistry teacher believes that students should not stress over choosing a career path – and she may have the right formula. After all, it wasn’t until after graduate school that she learned what career path she truly wanted to pursue. Ultimately, in her heart, she knew wanted to spread her love for science to young people.
Ms. Kiely wants students to know they shouldn’t have to fret about choosing a career at such an early stage in their lives – sometimes these decisions just come with time and exposure to wide ranging experiences.
Similarly, Ms. Stack, Coral Gables Senior High guidance counselor, experienced five careers before choosing the one she is happiest with.
There is little doubt that honing in on a career path at such an early time in a student’s education can be difficult when the goal is to find a career that they both love and succeed in.
Ultimately, this big decision depends on the individual student and their interests. Some kids seem to have always known what they wanted to be and take the appropriate classes. Others may enjoy a variety of subjects and do not find it necessary to fixate on just one path. Soon the college chapter begins and they wonder if all the stress and strain in the drive for success was worth it.
At the end of the day, it is up to each individual student how to navigate the prevailing winds and underlying currents of the their academic journey.
Ava Cecily Lederman is a tenth grader in Coral Gables Senior High School’s International Baccalaureate Program. She enjoys music and cross country running. She plans on pursuing a career in journalism and/or communications. In her free time she enjoys traveling and hanging out with friends. She is also an active member in a community service group known as the Twenty Little Working Girls.