When I enrolled Al in 8th grade last summer, I never thought that during the course of the year we would be planning out the rest of her life. On Wednesday, Al brought home the results from her Explore test which, if I understand correctly, is somewhat of a pre-pre-ACT test (the actual pre-ACT is done in 10th grade and is called PLAN) and a Career Aptitude test. Now, for the past year or so, she has said that she wants to go into Law Enforcement after college. She doesn't really want to be a police officer but would rather be in the forensics side of it, which I find fasinating but of course this isn't about me. She was more than a little disappointed when her results showed that she is best suited for Engineering or Architecture.
Here is the question that I have for all of you out there. Are you following the career path that you wanted to follow when you were 13 years old? When I was 13, I was positive I was going to be a large animal veterinarian and live on a huge horse ranch where I raised only the best of the best show horses. My place was going to be the Top Gun of horse ranches. I wasn't going to EVER get married and the thought of having kids never crossed my mind. I am the polar opposite of what I thought I wanted to be back then. Veterinarian? Nope; I sit in an office all day long infront of a computer screen. Horse ranch? Nope; had to put my horse down 10 years ago and haven't bought another one. Single? Nope; married for 13 years. Kids? I have 3 of them.
Yesterday, Al came home with all the information to register for High School (Yikes!) We are supposed to sit down this weekend and plan out the next four years of her education career and make tentative plans for the following two. The steps are:
1. Choose the college that you would like to attend after high school
2. Make sure that they offer the degree program within your Career Area
3. Determine the requirements for admission to that program
4. Choose your high school courses in accordance with the program requirements
What I don't know is are we supposed to map out her next 4 - 6 years according to what she says wants to do (Forensics) or according to what the Career Aptitude Test says (Engineering & Architecture)? I realize that nothing is set in stone and we can change what courses she takes during the year but what is wrong with letting her take whatever courses she wants to take so she can learn a little bit of everything if she wants to? Her interests are going to change almost daily as she gets older and I think that is great. I want her to experience as much as she can while she is young so that when she is my age and has a family she doesn't have regrets about not doing something.
I know that setting goals and working toward them is important and I will always encourage her to do so. I just think that at 13 years old, it is a little too much to ask them to plan out their high school career to move towards a particular college program and profession. Shoot, a lot of the 13 year olds I know have a hard enough time planning what they are going to wear to school on any given day, much less planning the rest of their lives!