In choosing an education or vocation, there is no substitute for knowing yourself. Discovering where your strengths lie will boost your self-confidence, which is crucial to making good choices. So ask yourself the following questions:
- How well do I know myself?
- How can I get to know myself better, and who can help me do this?
- What am I good at?
- What are my interests?
- What do I enjoy doing?
Your abilities, aptitude and skills
At school you have undoubtedly discovered which subjects come easiest and which ones you struggle with. This could indicate where your abilities lie.
- Are you good at theoretical subjects? Which do you like best: languages or mathematics?
- Are you artistic? Do you like to draw, paint or play a musical instrument?
- Are you good with your hands? Do you enjoy preparing food, sewing or doing carpentry work, fixing things or making mechanical repairs?
- Or perhaps gym class is where you excel the most?
Your personal qualities
By qualities, we mean the kind of person you are.
- Are you sociable? Do you like being together with a lot of people? Do you find it easy to make conversation and get to know others, or do you prefer the company of a few close friends?
- Do you find it easy to work with others, or do you prefer doing things your own way?
- Are you good at listening to other people's opinions and ideas?
- Are you reliable?
- Do you like things tidy and orderly, or are you a sloppy person?
- Do you take the initiative, or do you prefer others to take the lead and make the decisions?
The kind of person you are will affect your choice of occupation. If you are an extrovert, you might feel at home in an occupation that allows you to meet many unfamiliar people.
When the time comes for you to apply for a job, your prospective employer will be very concerned about the kinds of personal qualities you have. It could prove very helpful if you are reliable, if you are rarely absent from work, and if you prove capable of cooperating with others and working independently. Your attitude towards your work and towards your colleagues could prove every bit as important as your grades from school. So your conduct grades are also important!
If you are allowed to do something that interests and motivates you, there is a big chance you will succeed. But you can’t always count on your interests coinciding with a specific education programme or occupation. Nevertheless, you will find your areas of interest among a broad range of education programmes.
Interests change quickly during adolescence. Other interests can pop up in addition to those you already have. Talk to your parents and to your school guidance counsellor about your various educational options and occupational choices. Remember that your counsellor is someone you can confide in concerning your choice of occupation and what you want to be.
You may need to take your health into consideration when choosing an education or an occupation.
- Some occupations require greater physical stamina than others.
- Allergies can limit your choices.
- Some occupations require good hearing and good eyesight. Some occupations impose stringent requirements of one kind or another.
These are all factors you should consider before choosing an education. Ask your guidance counsellor if you are in doubt.
Other people's expectations
It is not uncommon for parents or guardians, siblings, relatives and friends to have strong opinions about what you should become. Many parents or guardians have big expectations for their children with respect to their choice of occupation. Listen to their advice. Ask the school guidance counsellor and others you trust for their advice, too. It's smart to spend a lot of time talking with your parents or guardians about your various alternatives and options. But in the end, the choice is yours alone! You musn't be pressured into choosing something you don't want just because other people feel it would be the best thing for you.