Transitioning from high school to the next chapter of your student’s journey doesn’t have to be terrifying.
A child’s education is often structured and sequential.
You’ll start in first grade and you progress to second grade. You don’t need to worry about skipping ahead to eighth grade. There’s not much question about “what’s next?”
This changes when the student reaches high school.
Whereas most children in first grade are learning the same thing, students in high school and college are specializing in a specific subject. One of the difficulties that many students face in high school is determining what their next step actually is. Transitioning from high school to the next chapter can be helped by remembering a few things:
Sadly, many students are frozen with analysis paralysis when they face this question. They don’t instinctively know what their next step will be (or should be). In fact, there are so many options that they’re overwhelmed.
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It doesn’t help that many students have also grown up thinking that they were made to do one thing. They’ve been told things like “you were made for a purpose”. What that purpose is, they don’t instinctively know. They assume it must be one of the options staring them in the face. How do they know which one it is?
Not So Narrow
One of the first things to note as your student explores what’s next is that things are not so narrow as they may seem.
There are many options in front of your student but they don’t need to choose just one. Their purpose is broader than a job or even a career field.
Not only that, it’s going to take time to grow into the purpose God has laid out for them. They don’t need to set a course in high school and never deviate from that course. They have the freedom to try out new things and learn about their strengths and skills through practical experience.
Therefore, the key to transitioning from high school to next steps is not to come up with a perfect, flawless plan for the next five years that lays out precisely what your student will do. Instead, your student should emphasize practicing real-world skills, identifying their core strengths, and experimenting with their different options.
The question is “what’s next?” But the answer doesn’t have to be one thing. Encourage your student to try a variety of things. As they start to move, they can readjust their plan, make course corrections, and navigate through their next steps.
Want more information about how to help your student figure out “what’s next” in their life? Join us for What’s Next: Launch with Confidence, an online event hosted by Unbound running through October.
Jace Bower is the Marketing Coordinator for Unbound. An Unbound alumnus, he has experienced firsthand the powerful advantages of doing college differently and participating in an intentional community. Jace graduated with his bachelor’s degree in History in 2016 and has worked in restaurant management and marketing since then. He also served on the Unbound Student Cabinet in 2019.
The author of two books and a semi-regular blogger, Jace can often be found doing something with words. When he’s not, chances are he’s reading about theology, listening to music, or playing pool or tennis with his wife Shannon in their Virginia home.