Encourage Early Career Exploration

Not too long ago, I was watching an episode of the new Steve Harvey Talk Show. One of his beautiful daughters was on the show and she was discussing the difference between calories in American foods versus international foods. During the segment she mentioned that she had recently completed culinary school. She went on to express how happy she was to have found her passion. Steve quickly pointed out that she decided to attend culinary school after graduating from Spelman College.

He was basically saying that if she had just gone to culinary school it would have saved him some money. Everyone laughed at his statement but, I’m sure that his statement was laced with a bit of truth. Spelman is a wonderful historically black college for women. It has a stellar reputation and many notable women have attended that school. That being said, I think Steve’s comments echo the sentiments of many parents. Parents often have to deal with the decisions that their children make to change career paths. This can cause a great deal of frustration. It can also cost a lot of money and waste precious time.

Changing majors or switching colleges can turn a two year degree into a four year degree, a four year degree into a six year degree and so on. The name of the game is to get in, get out, and get a job, hopefully in that order. Now obviously that would be the case under ideal conditions, however, sometimes things occur that are beyond our control. Some things are unavoidable and quite frankly life happens. When it comes to college, students change their minds all the time. This can cost some serious money down the road.

The point that I want to make here is for parents to encourage early college and career exploration. The sooner a young person can learn what they like and what they don’t like, the more likely they are to identify a college major that they will stick with. I for one think middle school is a perfect time. As I told a group of parents in my last workshop you can allow your children to learn about various careers when it’s free, or you can wait until the clock is ticking and it begins to cost you money, for them to explore.

I once heard that prisons are often built for individuals based upon third grade reading levels. I’m not sure how true that is but, it is certainly plausible. With that said if the penal system does not deem third grade to be too soon to start determining the future for our children then we must also consider the positive impact that early college planning and career exploration will have.

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