Welcome to Part 2 of our glimpse into the future – planning a life after high school! In Part 1, we talked to other young people about how they were exploring career and study options.

So, you’ve chatted to your careers advisor, teachers, friends and industry professionals. You’ve lined up university open days and careers expos, and you’ve been on a Google rampage to see what else you can find out.

You think you’ve come to a decision, but…

How do you know you know?

Some people seem to have known what they wanted to do for their whole lives. Some spend years working it out. Others change their mind along the way, and that’s fine too! So if you do know, how do you know?!

“I was interested and passionate about certain subjects, so I chose a career that used those subjects. I also started writing for the local newspaper to test my skills and see if it was the job for me.” – Leigh

“I’m considering optometry because it’s interesting and allows me to make a difference in people’s lives.” – Sophie

“I change my mind frequently!” – Ben

“I’ve been interested in the human body since 18 months old, decided on genetics as a career at three (the Aspie in me is a high and early achiever). I have constantly questioned my decision to check it is the right one, but each time I have decided it really is what I want to do with the rest of my life.” – Mackenzie

“I was still clueless about what to do after I left school so I decided to get a basic job, get involved in different hobbies that interested me and save enough money to be able to take road trips every now and then. I’ve met so many new people and had heaps of new experiences because of it.” – Sam

“What is something I can lose so much time in? Where do I forget what day it is because I’m so absorbed?” – Bicky

“I’m a third year commerce and property student and I still have no idea what I want to do.” – Alex

“I did work experience throughout high school. I volunteered at different events. I also did Gateway in Year 12, allowing me to earn NCEA credits. I did Early Childhood Education, worked for 30 hours in an after school programme plus did a few course days and decided it wasn’t for me! That’s the beauty of work experience.” – Helena

“I know that I want to have a career in film and/or photography because I let myself explore all my options and sometimes had to ignore the people telling me it wasn’t a practical option for a young girl from New Zealand.” – Maddie

Let yourself experience the feels

How does life after high school look to you right now? Is it shiny with adventure and possibility? Murky with a bit of anxiety? Is it a completely blank slate? Whatever the future looks like to you, feel those feels! They are legit. And you are not alone.

“I’m excited to leave school and start my career. Life after high school sounds like a breeze.” – Leigh

“I was pretty bored of high school. I was slightly nervous, but I knew what I was doing after high school, so it wasn’t too stressful.” – Kasey

“Extremely worried and a tad negative.” – Sophie

“I was excited, but because of the mixed signals I’m receiving, I’ve begun to get quite anxious about it.” – Mackenzie

“What I’m worried about is life after uni and getting a job. I don’t think students get enough support regarding future career choices, and often I feel like we’re presented with a very rigid process: study this major so you can get this job. Also, we only hear about the very generic jobs, like doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc, but we’re not exposed to jobs like secretaries and film-writing. Getting work experience in high school or high school internships would be really valuable.” – Tracy

“I was excited and nervous – beginning to enter a different kind of world where there were no teachers to remind you of due dates or ‘spoon feed’ knowledge.” – Alex

“I hated high school. I had an average experience throughout my years and was going to drop out at the end of Year 12. The only reason I went to do Year 13 was I met with the course leader of the Diploma I had found at the Careers Expo, and he told me if I finished school, got my NCEA then I was guaranteed a place in the course, so that was my motivation.” – Helena

“I am a little bit worried because now high school is over, the hard stuff really begins. High school was a bit of safety for me, so now it’s time to step out of my comfort zone.” – Maddie

Figuring out what to do when you leave school can feel like a daunting task, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Ask yourself where you’d like to be in five years or in ten years. What are your values? What makes you happy? Take some time to look at your options and talk to people you trust.

If you’d like more information, check out Careers NZ.