You may feel concerned if your teen or young adult doesn’t know what they want to do. Here’s how you can help them.
The years leading up to high school graduation can be fraught with indecision. It’s natural for young people to change their mind about what they want to be when they grow up - but what happens when your teen doesn’t settle into a decision about university or future studies, even after they graduate from high school?
It’s hard to imagine the stress of trying to figure your whole life out at 16 or 17 years of age. While some young people are self-directed and crave independence, other teens may feel like they have no idea how to make decisions about a future career. To be fair, it’s a lot to expect of a young person who probably has limited work experience, at best, and has never had to support themselves.
So we’ve put together some handy tips for helping your teen set themselves on the right pathway for them.
1. Remember, their pathways doesn’t have to be linear
Your young adult is probably feeling like everything in their life is quickly becoming new and unknown. They get a lot of advice about the need to grow up but they may not feel like they’re mature enough to manage in an adult world. Some embrace the situation and excel, but others may recoil. If your teenager is struggling to make choices about university, you may wonder if uni is worth it. Don’t be concerned; it’s more common than you might realise for teens to be confused about their future.
Murdoch’s free thinking philosophy accommodates students who aren’t sure about what they want. It is a place that embraces unconventional approaches to career planning and encourages students to be bold and curious. This gives your child ample opportunity to explore their future in a safe, supportive environment.
Jackson needed time to explore before finding his dream career
Like many high school students, Jackson wasn’t sure what he wanted to do so took a Bachelor of Science degree with an eye on post-grad studies. When he finished his undergraduate degree, he left uni and went to work in an unrelated field. After speaking to a Murdoch student, he settled into a post-graduate course he’d never considered and hasn’t looked back. Jackson’s story is a perfect example of free thinking.
2. It's normal for students to change their mind or be indecisive
Murdoch is a great place to explore new options if your child has discovered the degree or training they selected when in high school isn’t what they expected. This is more common than you may realise and occurs when:
- The reality of a student’s career isn't what they dreamed it would be.
- Your child selected a university course because they felt it was expected of them — or they perceived there was an expectation to study a specific degree.
- As they matured, their interests changed. Lilly struggled in high school but has excelled at Murdoch in a Master of Forensic Science degree.
- The plans they made in high school involved other students who are no longer peers and the appeal of an initial career choice has worn off as a result — or wasn’t strong in the first place.
- Your child didn’t realise ATAR is not the only way to university. Read about how Niamh entered Murdoch after studying at TAFE and is now studying information technology.
- Your child realised they needed a university degree to meet their lifestyle choices. Maybe they’ve spent time in the armed forces or worked in an unskilled trade and their ambitions have changed.
3. Provide career guidance to your teen or young adult
If you sense your teen is struggling, have a conversation about career planning. This can help put structure around their decision-making. It’s also a chance for you to uncover any unspoken concerns or clear up any misconceptions they might have about attending university. You may need to help them alleviate anxiety they’re having about this new chapter in their life.
Reassure your teenager that it’s okay to take time to explore what they want in life. There’s nothing that says their path through university has to be a straight line. Learn about Murdoch’s student support services and encourage them to take advantage of all that’s on offer. Your child will figure out what they want to do eventually, and Murdoch is the kind of university that encourages them to think freely about their education.
Learn about all the entry pathways available for your teenager.