The easiest way to explain why you should think about your future now is that getting what you want takes planning.
That goes for anything from a job, to a place to live, or a trip you want to take. No matter how simple or difficult the goal, or how soon or far off in the future, you need to take steps to reach it.
You may have heard your parents use phrases like planning for the future or choosing a career. That can seem pretty unimportant when you’re just trying to survive high school. Or looking for work because you need to pay the rent.
When teachers, parents, and other adults say plan for your future, they really mean focus on what you want.
When they say choose a career, they really mean use your interests, passions, values, skills, and strengths to guide your choices.
Why does planning work?
Planning is about doing what it takes to get to where you want to go.
For example, if you wanted to throw a surprise party, you would plan it. You would take steps like choosing a date, making a guest list, inviting people, and buying food and decorations.
It’s the same with your future and your career. You pick a goal, and then you figure out what you need to do to accomplish it, and in what order.
In these two videos, Demi and Joshua talk about the planning they've put into their career paths:
Exploring Career Paths: Pediatrics (3:00)
Demi is interested in pursuing a career as a pediatrician, a type of specialist physician. Through volunteering, she discovers how important it is to have an interest in science and enjoy working with children.
Exploring Career Paths: Engineering (3:32)
Joshua would like to become a civil engineer. Watch as he explores his interests by attending a pre-engineering camp. He learns to build small-scale models and discovers the importance of communicating his ideas.
Planning ahead works because:
- Picturing your goals can motivate you and keep you focused.
- Planning how to reach your goals helps you set priorities and stay organized.
- Sometimes you need to do things in a certain order, so it’s important to know where to start.
Suppose you love animals and want to become a veterinarian. You need a veterinary degree for that. To get into vet school, you need to take certain post-secondary courses first. To be able to take those, you need to take certain high school courses first. So you make a plan to take those courses next year. You go step by step from there.
But what if you aren’t sure about your interests, values, strengths, and skills? What if you haven’t figured out what your goals are? It’s common in high school not to be sure of what you value or what your main strengths and skills are.
- Discover your values, interests, abilities, skills, and traits.
- Choose a suitable career and find out what steps to take toward it.
- Find out about career paths, work choices, and how to get needed skills.
Who should plan?
It’s a good idea to read more about planning for your future if:
- You’re wondering what to do after high school and need to focus your thoughts.
- You know and like the direction you’re headed in, but you need some help taking steps to get there.
- You’re not sure what to think, feel, or do.
Take a look at 5 Things You Can Do in 5 Minutes for some fun, easy ways to figure out what you want and how to get it.