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Who do you want to be when you grow up?

Who do you want to be when you grow up?

Thursday, 18 June 2015  | Karissa - Assistant Principal - Secondary
Do you recall that age-old question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ Perhaps you arrived at some very endearing 5 year old answer: a princess, a superhero, a dinosaur.  Or perhaps you still have strong aspirations to be a superhero? Or perhaps you are a superhero, and it’s the world’s definition of ‘superhero’ that gets in the way… you just never could quite pull off the undies-over-your-tights look.

Last week, during Transitional Education week, the Year 10s were again wrestling with the question of future direction…

The students were treated to an engaging week-long program assisting them to consider decisions for their futures. The week, put together by Amelia Koole our Careers Coordinator, provided meaningful talks, active discussions with businesses in the local community, further education planning and tours of a number of options for VCE, VCAL and post-secondary education.

I had the privilege of accompanying the Year 10 students on Thursday for their excursion to ACU (Australian Catholic University), TRACTOR design school, Australian College of Sports Therapy and Box Hill Tafe.

The purpose of this day was to begin to open up students’ minds to where they might like to go with further study (if they choose further study), and in turn, get them thinking about which subjects they may need to consider for the remainder of their schooling.

I had the opportunity to rub shoulders and see this experience through the eyes of the ‘newcomers’; those Year 10s with so many choices ahead of them, who like those kindergarten students, are being asked ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’

For these students, however, the pressure seems a little more real; there is no contemplation of Superheroes, and they are being asked to decide very soon. The reality is however, that many of them are still unsure. And that is okay. In fact, the pressure to conform and to decide seems almost cruel. Yet, through the advice of many professionals and tour guides over the course of the excursion day, the message was clear: it is okay if you haven’t got it figured out just yet, and it is okay if you change your mind. In fact, it is quite normal.

Throughout the day, I could see eyes opening to the possibilities that the students had never heard about or considered. From Law at ACU, to Sports Therapy at ACST, to Design at TRACTOR or Dog Grooming at Box Hill (yes, you actually get trained to turn poodles into rainbows!) What was most encouraging was that no course, and no career, was ‘more important’ than another in the eyes of the students. Each one provided unique potential for unique individuals.

As I basked in the sunshine of the rooftop deck at ACU, and contemplated a return to the university lifestyle (or perhaps how we might integrate a similar deck into the MECS building plan), I reflected on the importance of these experiences, but even more so, the importance of the messages that we are sending to students about how and when they need to decide ‘what they will be when they grow up’.

What is clear to me, is the importance of keeping the ‘What do you want to be?’ question in balance with the questions ‘Who do you want to be?’ and ‘Who do you want to serve?’

It is not what job you choose, career path you take or university you study with that really matters. What matters is the process that you go through and how you ask God to lead you. What matters is the person that you become and how your faith and experiences shape you.

What values are important to you and shape the way you live? How can you use the gifts God has given you to serve God and serve others in whatever career you choose? And if those questions are not quite on your radar just yet, if you’re worried about what might be in store for you in the years ahead, remember that God already knows the plans he has for you.

But how can you know what ‘God’s plans’ are for you? How will you know that you are making the ‘right choice’? One way you can begin to figure out those plans is to consider the gifts God has given you. What are you good at? What brings you joy? What are you passionate about? What do you like doing? What do other people say you are good at? Because the answers to these questions may just lead you on the path to discovering what God’s ultimate purpose for you might be.

And if you are yet to discover what you truly enjoy, or recognise the things that you are good at, that is okay. God will continue to help you to discover your gifts, you just need to be willing to learn and give things a go.

So who do you want to be when you ‘grow up’? 
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