If you have just graduated High School you probably have a few questions about what is next. Some of you may already have a college and a major picked out, others may have no plan at all.
The good news is, as long as nothing is paid for yet you are still in good shape. Far too many parents, teachers, and guidance counselors will push the almighty importance of college on our youth.
Some parents will even go as far as to disown or kick out their children who decide not to attend it right away. So what should you do after high school?
Take A Gap Year
This should honestly be mandatory for any 18-year-old with the slightest doubt about college. I would even go as far as to say that all students should.
Taking a gap year after High School would give new graduates a few advantages that jumping right into college would not. If we are going to be honest with ourselves, we should admit that NO 18-year-old child knows what they want to do for the next 40 years.
They have no experience with the world and have been living in an artificial environment for 12 years. What benefits would come from a gap year?
Real World Experience
Taking a job out of High School, desirable or not to the graduate would give them a valuable lesson in working for their money and dealing with other people.
They would also learn about personal finance and budgeting their money. It is a lot harder to blow your money when you worked the long hours to receive it instead of just taking it out in student loans.
It also doesn’t hurt to have some kind of work experience to add to a resume.
Another benefit of taking a gap year (or two) would be the option of doing some reconnaissance.
What this means is, instead of just jumping in to college in your home state you would take time to work up the money and explore other states first.
You would take small trips with the money you earn from working to map out other areas of the country and may even find a more desirable place to set up shop in the long run.
One book that goes into more detail and lays out a roadmap is called Reconnaissance Man by Aaron Clarey.
Research Job Prospects
If you take a gap year, you will have one whole year to do your research on different college majors and what they have to offer job wise on the other end of that four-year stint.
Most of the time when someone in High School has to choose a college major, it is very rushed with a short deadline.
The student is unprepared to make a wise decision and is more or less told, “pick whatever you are interested in!” Regardless of the job prospects or practicality of that major.
The rub is, that student will still have to bear the full cost of that degree whether it is useful or not. This is one situation where “haste makes waste” truly applies.
Learn A Trade
Most believers in academia will scoff at this idea because blue-collar work appears to be “beneath” them.
The truth is, trades are still largely in demand. Some are even short of skilled workers such as the welding industry. The funny part of this is, most skilled trade workers I have personally met do better financially than college graduates.
Trade school normally has a much higher ROI than going to college. (Unless you major in certain business fields and have some pre-made connections. Thanks dad!)
The fact of the matter is, learning a trade is an almost guaranteed tool for financial wellness. There is a two-pronged approach to learning trades as well.
You not only will be qualified to work for companies in that field, but you may even start one of your own.
There are plenty of people who have gone out and learned a trade at a company or school, but went on to become an independent contractor or start their own company. “Blue Collar” doesn’t sound so bad anymore, does it?
Become A Freelancer
When most people hear the word “Freelancer” they tend to think of a starving artist type of worker.
This is no longer the case in modern times. With the leverage of the internet, freelancers are able to work from anywhere on their own time.
As long as this individual has a marketable skill that is in demand, there is money to be made. The greatest part of it? You are not location dependant.
This brings us back to the point made earlier about doing your reconnaissance. You can effectively kill two birds with one stone if you have a skill that can be done online.
There are always people looking for skilled web designers, writers, programmers, coders, etc. If you manage to learn these skills before or even after High School, you may be able to build a list of steady clients ahead of time.
Having steady clients that like your work can prove to be a reliable source of income to fund your mission.
Which ever route you decide to go, just know that jumping in to college right away is often counterproductive. Taking a little time after High School to figure out who you are and what you want in life is insanely important.
It may also give you the chance to live a lifestyle you could have never dreamed of. Progress in life should always be made, but you can do your due-dilligence first. You never know, it just might be the best decision you ever make!
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