More on the mentor program, and the career planning process.

Good morning, Parents.

Yesterday, during our homeroom time we had our first meetings with the small groups of freshmen and sophomores that we will be mentoring in the career planning process.  I want to provide you a little more background about what we are trying to do, and why, because I think it is going to be really critical for all of the mentors to work closely with parents in this process if it is to be really effective.  
Here are a few more important ideas from the book, Dream Differently.
Peter Thiel, one of the founders of Pay Pal, once said that for too many students who have not developed detailed plans to prepare for their futures, college is a very expensive waste of time.  He continued, “I feel I was personally very guilty of this; you don’t know what to do with your life, so you go to college.  I don’t have any big regrets, but if  I had to do it over I would try to think more about the future than I did when I was in high school.”  

To many young people “don’t know what to do with their lives,” so they go to college.  They do what they think they’re suppose to, and what their parents want them to do, with no further thought as to why they are doing it or what the ultimate goal really is.  That is a problem because, as you know, college is an expensive way to discover yourself.
I know we have had plenty of seniors over the years that have been pretty stressed out about choosing a college, and/or a career.  It is likely the biggest and most consequential decision of their lives to that point, and most of them probably feel like they are making those decisions with less information and experience than they wish they had.  Their solution to these feelings of stress is often avoidance and procrastination.  I think we can help the students that we mentor by pushing them as freshmen and sophomores to begin this planning in very real ways.  If we can force them to gather far more information about career options and take advantage of opportunities to learn about those careers first hand through shadowing, then when they are seniors they will have the information and experiences they need to be much more confident in their choices.  It is scary for students to think about and plan for the future, but with our support as teacher mentors, and with the support of their parents, we can help students avoid a very common regret, and frankly, a very big mistake, of wishing they had “planned more for the future than I did at the time.”   Let’s face it, our students cannot leave OHS college and career ready without going through the stress and struggle of developing a thoughtful plan for the future.  And experience has taught us they are not going to walk this path without considerable support (and probably pushing) from their parents.  Furthermore, a lot of parents have told us that they feel a caring teacher mentor focused on this topic would be of considerable assistance to push past the natural student avoidance as well.  We also know from experience that some students will practically have to be gently dragged down this path, but if we do so with the support of parents and in a caring way, eventually students will come to own the value of planning for the future as well.  
We look forward to working very closely with parents in this important process.  We think we are going to need each other to do this well.  Our teacher mentors will be reaching out to talk with the parents of each of their students soon.  In the meantime, please ask your children what their next steps are in exploring potential careers as a way to open the conversation at home.  
Thanks in advance for your support and participation in this process.