Six tips for life after high school
Congrats! You’ve survived the seemingly unending ordeal of high school. After you cry, laugh, celebrate and have a really long nap, the great yawning expanse of The Rest of Your Life can seem a teeny bit daunting. It’s okay. That’s normal. But, like anything that feels overwhelming, the best thing to do is break it down. Start with these top tips and you’ll be halfway to figuring out what on earth you’re going to do next.
1. Embrace your independence
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Freedom is finally all around you. Embrace it. Get your drivers’ licence if you haven’t already. Consider moving out of the family home. You’ll find your independence and, with it, you’ll get a new taste of responsibility. Yeah yeah responsibility gets a bad rap but it doesn’t have to be a total downer. New responsibilities can grow your confidence and teach you that maybe you can do more than you first thought.
2. Be curious
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Explore. Listen and learn. Take an active interest in stuff. Talk to people. Ask questions. Read. Now is your time to discover what life outside of school looks like. Maybe you want to go on a gap year to learn more about another culture. Maybe you’ll decide to volunteer with a local outreach program. Be open to new experiences and to being challenged. It could set you on an exciting path you hadn’t considered before.
3. Do you
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Curiosity is one of the best tools for growth. But there comes a point when you need to stop listening to everyone else and start tuning in to your own voice. Doing something just because someone else told you to is not going to make you happy. So, if you’re choosing to study, sign up for the course that speaks to you (we can help you sort that). Take the subjects that get you excited. Gravitate towards what you love – it’ll make you happy and you’ll probably do better in the long term. For now, you do you and let others worry about themselves.
4. Get a job
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If you’re not already working part-time, now’s a perfect time to start. Casual jobs in retail and hospitality teach you how to multi-task and deal with customers, colleagues and managers – all great skills for most professional careers. Future employers will love to look back over your résumé and see experience related to their industry, so try to find stepping stones to where you want to end up – if you know where that is. A part-time job or internship in a related field to your degree will work wonders over the next few years. Plus, think how good getting paid will be!
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Travel is awesome for getting out of your comfort zone, expanding your horizons and discovering new things about yourself. Save some money (see above on getting a job), set a goal and go for an adventure. Maybe you want to take in the culture of Europe, immerse yourself in the buzz of Asia, embark on an eco-tourism project in South America, or simply go for a hike in Tassie. Regardless of your budget, your timeframe and your destination, whatever you do will grow your perspective and teach you more about you. You’ll meet people you would have otherwise never come across. You’ll be challenged in many unexpected ways. And you’ll come back looking at life – and yourself – a little differently.
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Don't stress about what your major will be, what job you’ll end up in, whether you’ll retire at 30, 50 or 70. Just take it one step at a time. There are plenty of big choices that lay ahead of you but you don’t need to make them right this second. Focus on what you can do today and let yourself be a bit unsure of the future. That’s all part of the adventure. The key is finding that sweet spot – the balance between aiming for your goals and keeping it all in perspective.