I believe interest is critical to success. It’s essential to study or do an apprenticeship in what you want to do. What do you love doing? When is your energy high? When do you feel most alive? What are you most curious about? What grabs your attention so much that you don’t notice where the time goes? When you are choosing your courses I strongly advise you to follow your passions and interests
2. STRENGTHS Coupled with interests, you must make choices that support your strengths. Strengths are your aptitudes. They are things you do effortlessly. They come naturally to you. Some of you might be very practical and good at mechanics or with your hands. Others might be very good with numbers. Some of you might shine in sports. Others might be really good at getting on with others. Research suggests (Gallup) that we should double down on our talents. It tells us that people who focus on their strengths are 6 times more likely to be engaged in their jobs and 3 times more likely to have life satisfaction.
Online tests that help define your intelligences and strengths include Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, VARK learning styles, and strengthsfinder 2.0 ( US test )
3. The third way that you can make your future work for you is to focus on MEANING. Do you ever consider what you might have to offer the world? Do you ever ask yourself, what does the world need from you? Did you ever consider how you could serve others? How could you meet people’s needs? Did it ever occur to you that you can make a difference?
Studies show that, where people are focused on an inner meaning or purpose that serves others, they have more satisfaction. Look for ways that your unique talents, dreams and desires can serve global or local needs in your local area.
4. The fourth way that you can create a great future is to RESEARCH .Drill down deeper. Ask lots of questions to people in the careers that you are interested in. (Typical day, skills involved, training, positives and negatives about the work, recommendations, promotion opportunities etc)
In terms of College…..
Dropping out costs anything from €3,000 to €10,000 in fees alone, never mind living costs and grants. Now is the time to get real. Ask questions. Seek advice from people in the field. Look at the course content. Drill down deeper. Look at the content closely. Does it play to your interests and strengths? Where do people end up afterwards? Look at graduate destinations on the college websites. Where do people end up working? Does that appeal to you? Could you imagine yourself working there?
In terms of trades or gaining employment…….
If you are looking to do a trade, put your ear to the ground. Who is a fair employer? Where are the opportunities? How should you approach the employer? Is your CV in good shape? Could you do health and safety courses in order to make you a better prospect to an employer? Is there a PLC that would help you? Or a welding/ practical/ IT course? Do the groundwork now. Don’t wait until September. I have met too many students who didn’t make a plan and ended up, fed up, on the dole without the support of a school. Employers value motivation and learning.
5. The final way that you can create a great future is not to give up! Adopt an attitude of someone who keeps trying. Learn to get back up on the horse again after a setback. It’s Ok to fail. It’s Ok not to know. It’s OK to ask for help. Don’t set limits on yourself. Anything is possible. 60 % of courses are available to graduates. So, an Arts student could do Medicine. A Sports Science graduate can be a Physiotherapist. There are back doors into so many professions.
Whatever you decide to do, I want you to really commit to yourself. Don’t limit yourself! Don’t play small. Don’t play safe.