Your Daily Cup of HR: Words of Advice to a High School Graduate

Words of advice I would have given to myself as I Graduated from High School

May 22, 2018 By: Sarah Betteridge

20 years ago, this month I graduated from high school. As I say that, it’s really hard for me to believe that it’s been 20 years! So much has happened, and yet I can still remember that hot and muggy May day. I was young, invincible and the world was my oyster. I was off to college to become an English teacher; MY FUTURE WAS SET AND SECURE. But I was constantly having this conversation with people…

But Sarah, teachers don’t make a lot of money. Don’t care, teaching is for me! Sarah, have you even looked at any other career options? Nope, because teaching is my calling and English my one true love. But there are other professions out there in the realm of education and English, what about training or writing? Those could be other options to explore. La, la, la I can’t hear you, I’m 18 and teaching is the only career path I want to be on.

Oh 18-year-old Sarah, what I would say to you. First, think about how you came to aspire to be a teacher. You spent a lot of time in a school, and you excelled at most of it, so it was a comfortable environment. In ninth grade, you had an amazing English teacher, and that was that. You were going to be just like her, and there was no changing your mind. Honestly, did you even consider any other option? You chose a career that you were very familiar with, and you settled.

Now to be fair to my younger self, I can completely understand the interest in pursuing something that makes you feel safe and that you really enjoy. But life is more than that, and things don’t stay comfortable forever. How does the saying go? The magic happens outside of your comfort zone.

I sometimes wonder where life might have taken me if I had been a little more open to other suggestions as I was preparing to graduate. And that is my advice to anyone graduating or getting ready to graduate. There is nothing that says that before or even by the time that you graduate, you have to declare your major. Go to college and use some of your time to explore those classes you’ve never heard of, or you just assume you wouldn’t like. Or take some time off before you go to college and see some of the world. Save up your money and travel. Use your youth to be selfish and discover what makes you truly happy. Don’t feel like you need to have your whole life decided at 18. 20 years later, I’m still a work in progress, and as for me, that’s ok.

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