Work experience during your academic years…

Most of us spend minimum 10 years and up to 20 years in school, whether it be in primary, secondary and / or third level education striving to achieve an education and a qualification that will secure us a job / career that we will like and that will pay us a salary to meet our desired future lifestyle.

As we begin our education, we have no idea why we are doing it, where it will lead us to, where it will take us to and what will be the outcome / reward at the end in the areas of a job / career. As we progress, we realise that the reward is to get a job, build a career, become self-sufficient and pay our way.

Some people begin to pay their way when their third level education is completed, while others start working as soon as they are legally able to i.e. @ 16 years young, whether it be in their parents / guardians family business or through someone they know.

Work experience during your academic years can be such a rewarding experience. Never mind the ‘paying your way’ mentality, which is really only a by-product; the true benefit is the opportunity for you to grow, meet all types of people, do all kinds of work tasks and get an idea of what you’re good at, what your skills / competencies are and decide on a job / career future before your academic years are complete.

In the years that you have no major examinations, force yourself to search for and secure a job at w/e’s, during mid-term breaks and of course in summertime; a job that you like, that will challenge you and that you will learn from.

Some of these jobs might not deliver all of these; however you are at the very least making some money, meeting new people and not wasting all of your precious time watching other people doing well in their lives…

I don’t like my course…

You are in your first few months or are heading towards the end of your first year in college and it has been building, building, building to a point that you have now come to, where you are asking the question, ‘Have I chosen the right course?’ Since starting it last September, you have got through it, attended the lectures, passed the exams / assessments, but…! You don’t love the course, you might not even like the course, you’re not inspired to excel, you don’t know why you’re doing it and you don’t know where it will lead to when you complete it, if you complete it!

The above situation is not a nice place to be in when you consider what you have done to get here, the time involved, the costs involved and now the consequences of deciding to leave the course. So, you are here, it is how you feel and it is time to sit down with some people and take action and make some decisions.

  1. Consider finishing the first year of the course
  2. Review your previous career planning / guidance notes, results and advices
  3. Seek some form of formal or professional help (again if necessary)

There really isn’t much more you can do. Of the three above, the most important is Point 3. You have to first and foremost identify what industry, discipline or field you want to work in. Then and only then do you choose the course or training need to make this career a reality i.e. when prospective employers see it on your CV, they will be impressed and will want to meet with you.

Students who feel they are in the wrong course, will not excel and achieve the best grades they can, because the interest, motivation and love for it is simply not there…

It’s time to review your Study Plan…

We are told and from personal experience that January to May flies by. You may not think it now as the January days go by at a snail’s pace, but in two weeks’ time, Spring is upon, two weeks after it is St. Valentine’s Day, then St. Patrick’s Day, quickly followed by Easter (which is early this year – ?). All these calendar milestones make time go faster causing precious lost unplanned time periods never to be utilised again.

If you haven’t done it by now, you need to ‘up’ your study plan hours by re-visiting the plan you had done for September-December time period. You only have five months to go to what are (whether you like it or not) the most important examinations of your life so far.

You now need to be planning between 25-30 hours of homework / study each week (a week being seven days Monday to Sunday). The homework period will slowly reduce and transition into study time as the weeks go by and from Easter it will be all study.

Below is a timetable example that you may need to view and consider and introduce into your life for the next five months.

Do not regret not putting in the time and effort. If you don’t, you will be rewarded.

Enjoy the final few months of your secondary school education by seizing every day, indeed every hour…they will fly by…!

etc

Not sure what to be put on the CAO yet…?

 Coming to the end of another year and only six months or so to the Leaving Certificate examination. And you are still unsure as to what you want to do for the rest of your life. You have met the Career Guidance Teacher, you may have met a Professional career Guidance Counselor and you may well be closer to a decision, but still not quite sure, you are not definite. You would like to have clarity by year end, complete the CAO also by year end and start the New Year (the last most important six months of your life to date) with a 100% focus on study so as to achieve the highest points possible. And this you should strive to do.

In order to have this focus, how do you come to a decision about your ideal Career and ideal Third Level Course?

I presume you have met with your Career Guidance Teacher in your school and / or a Professional career Guidance Counselor outside of the school and have some ideas on where your aptitude, skills, talents competencies are? If not, you need to, this is priority and foundational i.e. gathering information, facts, knowledge about you so as to make an informed decision, mainly completed through Psychometric Career Assessments / Tests.

By the process of elimination initially, and then most interest, choose your top three career areas / fields. For each start studying the course contents, speak to people that you know who work in each field, research and read about each really getting into the vision of working in it, the environment, the people, stakeholders, customers, clients. Then you will find that one to two career fields will come to the fore. If these are still two and they are both very different, do more of the above until it comes one clear winner and complete your CAO accordingly.