When I Grow Up

By Carl Nielson, developer of Career Coaching for Students™
A Personal Blog Entry By College Student Ashley Hoornstra

Hello and welcome to Success Discoveries and more specifically, Career Coaching for Students™.

So many high school and college students have the perception that finding one’s self/career has to be completely left to chance. The assessment tests used by schools are very suspect. 

[Side note: I’ve had too many students comment on the assessments administered as part of a high school career exploration and planning program to have any favorable view of those products - yes, they are low cost, but they can and are more harmful than helpful as showcased here with Ashley’s attitude about that expeience. ]

As a fact, I have yet to hear one student from any high school tell me the high school assessments helped them get clarity around their talents, career choices or personal effectiveness to become successful. To contrast that, literally all of our student clients say the assessments were incredibly helpful. Why? To start, they are the same assessments being used by companies to identify and match talent to jobs. Second, they provide the student with several categories of insights so they understand more about them selves and can relate that to talent and career choices. Our assessments do suggest some career areas to consider, but our proprietary method for taking that information and applying it to career research is what makes it real for the student.

We found a recent personal blog entry by a college student, Ashley Hoornstra, to be so typical of college students today that we just had to repost it here. Not all but significantly more than half of college students are experiencing the same thing that Ashley is. Read her blog entry and ask yourself, if there is a better way, am I willing and able to take it?

When I Grow Up

A Personal Blog Entry By College Student Ashley Hoornstra
Since the time we start elementary school, we are constantly pressured to ask ourselves the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Back in kindergarten, I matter-of-factly informed Mrs. Carl (my teacher) that I wanted to be a meteorologist. A few months after that, I was sure I would be a teacher, as I played “school” with all of my stuffed animals downstairs, using my aunt’s old grading books to grade their assignments. But it was only a short time later that I was determined to be an astronaut, excited to go to space camp and learn all the secrets hidden in the universe. It all seemed so simple then, as if the world really was at my fingertips.

Then I entered high school, where counselors thought that by giving us a series of computerized multiple choice tests, we could come up with a list to at least narrow down our possible career paths (which I still find to be useless… there has to be a better way to do career exploration). Before I knew it, it was senior year and there was suddenly an immense pressure to pick the “best” school for me. Would I be most comfortable in a university with a large campus? Small? Public? Private? Ivy league? In state? Out of state? And as if the questions about campus and status weren’t enough, you had to take into consideration the schools that had the best program for your major, because of the impact it would have on your future career.

And here I am a few years later, about to finish my undergraduate education and enter the “real world”. As my college career draws to a close, that ever-pressing question has been haunting me: “What am I going to be when I grow up?” Of course, this isn’t some sort of epiphany that hit me upon my arrival to D.C. It has been in the back of my mind since, well, kindergarten. I have done everything in my power to tailor my college experience to open my eyes to all of the opportunities that exist in this great big world of ours. But even now, the question has yet to be answered.

To read her full blog entry, go to http://spartaninwashingtondc.blogspot.com/2009/02/when-i-grow-up.html.

She received one comment on her blog as of this posting, written by her friend Andy:
“It’s like you wrote this after our monday night walk. If it makes you feel any better, I don’t know what I want to do either. In fact, I don’t even know what I am going to be doing next week let alone next year. I don’t know what path I will take to get to a place I don’t yet know, but I am excited to see what happens. And that doesn’t mean I am leaving it completely to chance, rather, I am taking the chances/opportunities that are presented to me and emjoying my time pre-real world. Basically, I am throwing things up against the wall, and seeing what sticks wink

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