High School Career Day

What do you want to be when you grow up? I know some adults who are still figuring that out, but kids often seem to have a pretty good handle on the answer to that, at least when they’re little.  ”I want to be a doctor!” “A chef!” “A lion trainer!”  More power to them and their dreams.

It seems as we get older that things get a little more blurry. We get distracted by what our friends are interested in, what our parents want us to do, and what makes the most money. In an effort to give our high school students a glimpse into some of their options and focus their eyes a little further into the future, the counseling department organized a Career Day for them.

I’ll be honest – when the idea was originally “suggested” to us by an administrator, I was hesitant.  I had heard stories of the last Career Day that happened before we got here, which included anecdotes of harried preparations trying to find guest speakers, students who complained and didn’t follow the rules for the day, and speakers who left upset and offended by the lack of classroom management and organization. That was not something I was eager to step into, on top of the fact that event planning is not something this family therapist is particularly passionate about.

But we agreed to do it, and after it was all over I breathed a sigh of relief – it actually seemed to have gone well!  Thanks to the help of two other counselors and the college adviser here, we were able to host 22 guest speakers who graciously took time away from their professional lives to come and give multiple seminars on their career to groups of up to 20 students at a time. Each student got to choose 4 different seminars to attend throughout the morning as well as attend a panel discussion featuring a handful of our guest professionals.

The students had a variety of reactions, as students do. Of course some were bored and others just glad they didn’t have to go to classes, but it seemed that many of them were genuinely impacted by the experience. Some of them wrote thank you notes to the speakers afterwards, describing the impact it had on them that a high ranking diplomat or a hospital administrator would take time to share their stories with them, and the inspiration that these stories caused.  Students were drawn to the kind missionary pilot in his fancy uniform, surprised to find themselves so interested in what the chiropractor had to say, and eager to explore some of their own biggest dreams with the professional athlete.  And finally, during the panel session, the students got to hear some of these people’s perspectives on how career fits into God’s calling on our lives, how to discover your gifting and passions, and what they wished they could go back and tell their high school selves.  After all the long hours of emails, spreadsheets, scheduling, and organization, I sat there in the audience with the students feeling so grateful for these adults who spent a morning caring about our students with us.

After hearing about the last Career Day, I was especially determined to bless these professionals who shared their time with us.  Thankfully we were able to squeeze enough out of our budget to provide them with plentiful refreshments thank-you gift certificates.  They were very appreciative of these gestures, but as I watched many of them interacting with students, teachers, and each other, I realized that perhaps the greatest blessing was giving them the opportunity to talk about something they love and to speak into the lives of the next generation.  That’s a gift I never could have strategized or budgeted for.

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angela March 28, 2014 Uncategorized