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So you’ve graduated from high school, and you’re in a bit of a rut.  Now what? 

Up until this point, your life has been propelled forward by your parents and school. Suddenly, the education system has spit you out and the law says you’re a free agent. Whether you’ve started university and don’t feel it’s right for you, or you’re struggling to find your passion and you don’t know how to move forward, you’re not alone.  According to a recent study, 40% of post-secondary students say they’re seriously considering dropping out. What’s the solution? Check out our top 10 tips to get you out of the gutter and on with your life! 

  1. Accept the situation:
    First and foremost, it’s important to stop beating yourself up. Feeling stuck at this point in your life is pretty common and it won’t last forever. Students who do go straight to university, one in four graduates change their career path, so there’s no point in feeling like you are a step behind. Remember, you’ve overcome 100 percent of the challenges presented to you in life so far, so why should this be any different! 

  1. Switch up your routine:
    After graduation, life changes. You’ve got more freedom and opportunities than ever before. Why not shake things up a bit? Instead of dwelling on what you’re not doing, strike up conversations with people, have some fun, be spontaneous, and travel. You might just learn a new interest that could impact your future.   

  1. Take care of yourself:
    This might seem like a no-brainer, but when you’re in a rut, it’s easy to put your health on the back burner. Make sure you eat well, sleep well, and get daily exercise. Better yet, try spending some time outside. Not only does it increase your mental wellness, studies have shown that it enhances creativity as well.  

  1. Be mindful:
    You are an adult now, and there’s a great big world outside the school yard fence. Start expanding your views, work on your social skills, read about something new, learn something about a topic you are curious about, write and reflect on what you’ve learned, and most importantly, have fun doing it.

  1. Attend career fairs and information sessions:
    How are you going to move forward if you don’t even know what your options are? Now is the perfect time to arm yourself with information and explore different opportunities. Find out what’s in demand in your community, city, province, country, and even the world! There have never been so many paths to success. 

  1. Enrol in a course:
    Learning something online or through your local college can be a great way to increase your knowledge and explore different options. Whether you’re curious about a career path, upgrading, or just honing your skills for a hobby, knowledge is power and a course or two won’t break the bank. 

  1. Create a vision board:
    I know, to some of you this might sound like a grade-school art project, however vision boards are a commonly used tool even amongst highly successful people. It can include cut-out pictures from magazines and words that help inspire you to manifest your dreams and get where you want to go.  Wondering how to get started?  Check out this complete guide.  

  1. Expand your network:
    Building the right connections with the right people is key to developing your future career. It’s not however, something you can do quickly and ignore. Cultivating and managing relationships takes time, so why not start now. Join a club or organization related to your interests, explore social media networks such as LinkedIn, volunteer for events, find a mentor. A strong professional relationship may just be the edge you need to land your dream job. 

  1. Try an internship:
    There’s no better way to explore different careers than by putting yourself in the middle of the action. Internships are short term, on-the-job placements where you get to experience what the job is really like. There are several organizations that can help get you started. For example, The CAREERS U21 Program gives Alberta youth aged 18-20 the chance to explore skilled trades. Participants get paid, and if they decide it’s something they want to pursue, the hours worked count towards certification. Learn more about how you can take on the future. 

  1. Pause and reflect:
    This doesn’t mean doing nothing, it just means taking a breath before charging towards heavy commitment. The question “What are you going to do next?” will haunt you your whole life, so get used to it. Accept that everyone’s trajectory looks different. You are young, you have time on your side, and this is your story to write. 

A student looking at books and appears stressed

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Students exploring internships in skilled trades may also be eligible to fast track their training through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) Learn more.