Pressure to choose career stressful for teenagers


Student uses the new career program, "Career Cruising."

Elementary school children and younger are constantly being told to think about a career. This can be a stressful thing for a kid, not knowing what they want to do, yet being pressured to decide on something even though they aren’t ready for it. We need to stop demanding definitive answers from students. We should encourage them and let them know they do not have to state their career. It’s okay to not know.

It may not seem like much at first, but then once kids get to middle school they’re pressured to take various career assessment tests and decide what they want to do with their lives. In high school they are then pushed to take classes that match the career cluster even if they don’t have interest in pursuing a career in that field.

In today’s society we are constantly being told we need to know what we are doing with our lives. A common question that is asked when you meet a relative or are forced to participate in an ice-breaking activity is “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Teenagers and kids need to know that it is okay to say they don’t know. Some jobs may not have even been thought of yet.

For example, no one went as a YouTuber or a social media specialist to their kindergarten career days, but now some students might want to pursue those careers.

Some students may know what they want to do early on. They can then take advantage of the opportunities offered by Hays High and take classes to help them prepare for college and their future career, but not every student has that clarity.

While it may seem like most students know what they want to do, many change their minds several times before they even apply for the job.

When over 50 percent of college students change their majors according to George Mason University Admissions, sometimes even two or three times, it’s clear that high school students don’t know what they want to do either. This is why we shouldn’t be pushed to name a career path.

It’s good for students to think about their futures and possible careers they can enjoy, but society needs to slow down and not force the choice on them and encourage kids that it’s okay to wait to choose.

You can always choose to switch your major or your career later, but you can’t always get rid of the stress from being told to make the choice.