4 Critical Questions To Ask Yourself

The answers will help you figure out your future.

There’s so much to think about at the beginning of the school year. There are new class schedules to figure out, prom and pep rally plans to make and the all-important task of deciding who to sit with at lunch.

Oh, and don’t forget, if it’s your junior or senior year, you also have to start deciding what you’re going to do with the rest of your life.

No pressure, right? Don’t freak out. We sat down with Kristine Novelly, a school counselor at St. Augustine High School, to come up with four straightforward questions that will help you figure out your future.

Q. What am I going to do after high school?

A. In today’s world, a high school diploma can only get you so far. If you’re not interested in attending a four-year university, that’s okay. There are so many more options out there. Start thinking now about what you’re interested in and what career paths you might pursue. From there you can work backwards to figure out which kind of post-high school training or education is best for you.

Q. How much can I afford?

A. I always tell students that money concerns shouldn’t stop them from pursuing additional training or education. But let’s be real: There’s only so much you can afford and only so much you want to borrow. The good news is if you’re willing to do the legwork, there are so many ways to get help paying for school, including grants and scholarships.

Q. How much am I really, truly willing to commit to?

A. Say you decide you want to be a doctor. Awesome! But are you really, truly willing to commit to another eight to 10 years of school? If the thought of another decade in the classroom freaks you out, that’s okay. There are tons of other options in the medical field, some of which only require a few semesters of training after high school.

Q. How can I help my family help me?

A. Unless you have an older sibling who recently applied to school, chances are your parents don’t know the difference between the FAFSA and the ASVAB, or how to study for the SAT. Even if your parents attended college, things have likely changed dramatically since they were in school. Talk to your school counselors about your unique family situation.

Who Should I Ask For Help?

  •  Your parents, aunts, uncles and family friends. What do they like about their jobs? What do they wish they had done differently?
  • Your school counselors. They know about all the resources available to you. If they don’t know the answer to a question, they probably know where to find it.
  • Your neighbors and other people in your community. What do people in the fields you’re interested in think about their jobs?

My parents are Haitian immigrants. They’ve always supported me, but they couldn’t offer any guidance on how to meet my education goals. It was up to me to figure everything out. The first thing I did was sit down and brainstorm on what it is I wanted to do with my life. Once I knew my goal, I was able to reach out to my parents, teachers and guidance counselors for help figuring out how to reach it.

– David Bruno, 17, senior at William R. Boone High School, Orlando