My question is for counsellors who help people make career decisions.

Question: My question is for counsellors who help people make career decisions. I've just finished year 12 and looking to enrol at Uni. I'm leaning towards secondary teaching as an occupation but might defer so I can work in the real world for a year or two before continuing my studies. Doing this, I could buy a car and save money to pay for my education. I hate the idea of being thousands of dollars in debt before I've even started. The main reason though is that pretty much without exception, the best teachers I ever had, worked for a few years at something else and/or travelled BEFORE they became teachers. I'm interested to hear what you would recommend or at least what you think or know from personal experience and research. Thanks for your input. Alex

Answer (1)
Well Alex, I could not agree more with your assessment of the desirability of experiencing the real world, before immersing yourself in the world of academia. Once, young people had a "right of passage" experience to mark the transition between adolescence and adulthood. These experiences have differed over the millenia from initiation and coming of age ceremonies, joining the hunting party, going to war, even getting married when people did that very young. These experiences were a sign of societal recognition of the changes in function and capability of an individual. A symbol of taking one's place in the adult world.

I think taking a few years off before committing to years of Uni, is always a good idea. It gives young people the opportunity to explore the real world, have fun, make mistakes, hopefully learn from them and allows them to feel in charge of their life, probably for the first time. It is then a young man or woman that goes to Uni with ideas and attitudes that a teenager fresh from school could never have. Getting a job and flatting with mates, going on an extended, overseas working holiday, back packing around Australia picking fruit, volunteer work in third world countries etc. All fantastic, challenging and mind expanding experiences. I say "Do it!"

Answer provided by David White, Psychotherapist

Answer (2) Hi Alex, I recommend that you go to Uni and finish the degree. Get it out of your hair. You won't want to be studying when you are in your mid twenties! Once you have it out of the way you can always take a year or so off to travel. Don't worry about the cost of your education, repaying your HECS debt can wait til you are earning a mottza as a teacher. It's only 3% of your wage anyway or something like that and doesn't start til you earn over $30,000 or so. Enjoy Uni with people your own age and get involved in the Uni social scene. You will learn a lot about academia, life and other students. It's good to philosophise and exchange ideas at your age. There will be plenty of time for work, in xmas hols or when you finish. My suggestion is, take opportunities as they come, dare to reach your highest potentional and ALWAYS believe in yourself. Good Luck!

Answer provided by Jenetta Haim, Counsellor

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