What Comes After Graduation?
Parents know very well that it’s a long way from graduation to retirement. But the dreams of many teens leaving high school are short-term. They focus on getting a job now and hope some magical event will provide a shortcut to success later.
Unfortunately, there are just enough basketball, soccer, and rock stars to keep that dream alive for millions. The temptation is to wait for magic rather than make plans for training and work.
Most parents hope to see a clear direction in their graduate’s career planning. But there are very few sons or daughters who take an unwavering track to a life-long occupation. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is often a hard question even for a 60-year-old.
Of graduates who go off to college, 90% will change their major before they finish. While the average university has over 100 majors, most freshmen will not be able to name more than 20. College is for learning about life’s choices as well as preparing for a career. Parents need to be patient.
Parents need to be especially supportive of students who don’t select a college path. Their teens need to keep up on the choices in training and preparation for the future job market. In these high-tech times, students can always benefit from more training.
Surveys show that poor decisions about work, night life, and money are the major causes for not carrying through on training. Poor attendance in classes due to habits about work, money and entertainment remains the best predictor of dropping out of courses whether in college or other training programs.
So the best advice for your continuing student can be remembered by the letters in “SNAP.” The “S” stands for “Show up.” Woody Allen once said, “Eighty percent of life is just showing up!”
The second letter is a reminder to take Notes on readings as well as in the class. Most students forget this handy tip and take very few notes even in class. They seem to think they can remember everything all semester just by listening. And most students think they can remember assignments from now to finals by just “reading it over.” Not so. Class and reading notes will keep track of progress and make review time easier also. “Never turn a page without writing something” should be the rule.
The “A” in SNAP stands for “Active studying.” Most students study by staring at books and papers, but study time can be put to better use by making lists of important people, ideas, and concepts that become a part of their course notes. They should always have their pen busy during study time. This practice makes for great learning that shows up in test grades.
The last letter of SNAP stands for Planning. For students just out of high school and often on their own for the first time, managing their time, without teacher or parent to tell them what to do and when to do it, can be a real challenge. Encourage your son or daughter to keep a weekly calendar of plans and priorities to see that the work gets done.
Graduation may seem like a promise of new freedom but it is also a time for getting the extra training that will turn dreams into success. Parents can help by supplying the training tips of SNAP: Show up, take Notes, study Actively, and Plan your time.