“Failing to plan is planning to fail?”

Good afternoon, Parents,
I want to share a story to provide another glimpse into our vision for how the career planning process is of considerable importance to our students.  It is my hope in sharing this story with parents that each of you have a better understanding of how to join us in guiding your child in their career exploration and planning process.
About a week ago, I was asked by a senior girl to write a letter of recommendation.   In the process of making the request, she handed me a bio sheet of sorts that was really impressive.  I learned later, after sharing the story with our faculty, that this bio sheet was the result of an assignment in our personal finance class.  I wanted to share a few things about this document, and this student, that certainly relate to our efforts in mentoring students.  Some aspects of this bio sheet can definitely act as excellent examples of what should happen in the career planning process for every high school student.

The bio sheet started with a personal goal statement that was very specific.  It describes the specific college program she is planning to enter and the degree she wants to earn.  It further describes the type of job she wants to pursue and the setting she prefers to ultimately work in.  She also makes a very personal connection to this work to help explain her career choice and passion for the field.

The second area on the bio sheet describes her academic achievements to this point and details how she has used her high school experience to prepare for her career.  This section ends with the statement, “This year, my senior year, I am taking classes primarily centered around my career because I am very confident in this career choice.”   Wow, that struck me as a pretty significant aspect of a senior being college and career ready–being very confident in their career choice.
The third section on the sheet explains her statement about “being confident in her career choice” by stating that she has done extensive shadowing of the career, and in fact, she shadowed physical therapists in various settings to really understand what she sees as the most fulfilling and best fits for herself within this career choice.   She also shared that she interviewed several people in her career area over the last few years.  Her description of how she explored her career interests also include how she first became interested in the field.  She shared that because of a major injury as a freshmen, she had to do a lot of physical therapy, and that experience really drew her to that sort of work.  Almost immediately, she started talking with the PT’s that were assisting her to better understand their jobs in detail.
It is really exciting to watch this young lady as she is in the process of executing a detailed career plan that for her began in her freshmen year.  She is not just dreaming about a future career, she is moving toward it in a systematic manner.  This has to become the norm as we work to support all students becoming college and career ready.   Making that happen optimally will certainly take the coordinated efforts of our guidance department, our teacher mentors and parents.
Parents of freshmen and sophomores, you should be hearing from the teacher mentor who has selected your child.  We feel that is an important first step in building a relationship with you to best support your son or daughter in building a detailed plan toward their future.
Parents, please ask your children where they are in this career planning process, and what their next steps are to move toward a career.  Don’t be surprised if your children seems to avoid or procrastinate in this critical area of planning because our experience suggests that is fairly natural.  However, it does seem like our job as parents and teachers to keep guiding them, or maybe even dragging them down this road.  Failing to plan around one of the really big decisions in our children’s lives seems like something we would regret in our parenting efforts.
Have a great week.