What’s next for you now that you’ve finished school for good?
I’ve gotten that question quite a bit actually. It’s normal for people to always ask of your future plans after reaching a milestone. I’m happy to done with undgrad and graduate school. I’m happy with that job that I have. I’m happy with the people that are in my circle. I’m happy to say that I feel comfortable in life.
But I’m not satisfied.
And I won’t be satisfied until I feel that I made a real impact to help others succeed.
I’ve always had a passion to help others recognize their talents and what career they wish to pursue in life. I love to see people being ambitious in reaching their goals in life.
But what’s even better about seeing people reach for their goals, is how people do their best to avoid making negative decisions that can affect their goals as a result. I will never forget the research that I did for my Bachelors’ degree in Human Service senior project. I explored the topic of why students drop out of high school. One of the studies really struck me as it talked about how these young teenage mothers were surveyed on reasons of why they were pregnant at such a young age. Many of the girls mentioned that they didn’t think much of it because it just seemed like there wasn’t much to expect of life after high school anyway. They figured they’ll just get a job somewhere and take care of their children. The study explained how the lack of goals is what was their downfall. That these kids didn’t even expect much of themselves to feel a need to avoid decisions that would disrupt their futures.
And when you think about it, they had a point. We can talk to teenagers saying “don’t do this or that”, “or else you’ll get pregnant”, “or else you’ll go to jail”, and “you won’t be able to achieve your goals”. But what goals? If they don’t have much of a goal in the first place, then what are they losing? What would it matter?
That’s how I began to examine this problem. Problem is that they need goals that they actually can feel like they can achieve. That ties into their confidence level in themselves in their talents and abilities. That also ties in to feeling like they have a plan that can actually happen. Something that is down to earth and realistic to them that they can see it that they can believe can happen to them.
Thus TAP is born.
There are SO many things that high school students aren’t talked about regarding to just life in general. There isn’t a class that analyzes their gifts and talents and walks them through their options for further education as a 4 year college isn’t the only way to success. Then to even go further in basics you need to know about networking, internships, interviews, resumes etc.
Well aren’t their school counselors for that?
For every grade in a high school, there is a school counselor. So on average in the United States, there are 400 students to every counselor. 400 to 1. And that’s just the average. It is quite frequent that that number is higher in many states than that. How can one counselor effectively counsel 400 students to make sure that they are on track to succeed after high school?
Many students fall through the cracks. I recall one meeting with my counselor to talk about what I wanted to do, but all I had a vague idea of just college to major in art. My counselor encouraged me to go to college and told me information about when to take the ACT. And that was about it. There was another time that she had everyone in their English class to take a career test. My results was to build furniture for a living.
Yea…the person whose house was decorated by her mother and has only watched HGTV because her mom was watching should have a career in building furniture.
But you know for what it’s worth, my guidance counselor was a nice woman. I think she tried. I just wish I had more detailed guidance of what all my options were for a possible career. It feels unfair to blame her too because she had a lot of students to handle.
My point is that every student needs individualized attention to help them create a plan to encourage them to avoid things that can disrupt their future. Can’t rely on the parents because sometimes they don’t know either or some are more focused on just to keep food on the table. That’s what I learned when I did the pilot version of TAP. With TAP (Take Aim Program) I designed courses that covered all those topics and taught them every week at a local Boys and Girls Club. There were on average 20 kids in my class for each session.
As you can see I did bond with a few of my kids lol. I had kids that did learn something. There were some that paid attention and others that didn’t care because they were forced to attend my class (which I urged the leaders at the club not to do but they didn’t listen) and in turn kept disrupting the class. A handful of my students were extremely interested and participated in class often. I wanted to work one on one with my students, but I just had too many kids to keep up with to do so.
I was on a small scale facing the same problem as a guidance counselor.
So after that experience I decided that the only way to do TAP to effectively reach my students, is to convert my classes to mentoring sessions. This way I can work one on one or at the very most six on one to make sure that all my students get the attention they need to construct their future plans. Because even the students that weren’t interested needed the most attention as they would need someone to show them how important it is to take their future seriously.
Now I have began my work in designing those mentorship sessions. The mentor would bring their iPad that will show an interactive e-learning guide to help them stay on track of questions to ask and content to review with their mentee. I love the guides as it could really help the session to go smoothly and for the mentor to not forget anything.
Now you’re up to date of what I’m currently doing! Over the summer, I plan to finish designing the guides so that I can do a pilot run mentoring someone this fall. I’m excited about it as I really hope it helps the student. I wish I had someone to sit down with me to help me understand myself and understand what I wanted to do as a career as well as how to do it. So wish me luck and I’ll keep you all updated on how this progress!