At what point are we prepared to decide our future?

Find Your Calling
Mike LaBahn

The age at which we are asked to make the most life changing decisions is often an age where we have not seasoned our decision-making processes with real world experience. Inevitably, high school and college age youth will struggle to find their way, changing jobs or changing majors until they feel they are headed in the right direction. But for some, they are already committed to a plan of action, and so continue on knowing on some level that this is not where they want to be. Picking a major path and pouring years of effort towards training in a field we may later have no interest in (or even outright dislike) is a pretty frightening prospect for an 18 year old to face.

Will we go to college, or get a job? What major path should we pick? Is this what I’ll want to be doing when I am 80? For lack of knowing how to answer these questions, many will opt for the path of getting a job while their friends choose the path of college. Those who choose college may see their friends go to work and they may wonder if they should have done the same. Those that opted not to go to college ponder whether they should have stayed in school.

Discipline plays a large part in much of the choices made at this age. Many choices are made based on the ‘play now, pay later’ theory, where we believe we have all the time in the world to ‘get serious’ later in life. If only we could go back in time to our former selves to deliver a warning. Pay for it and sacrifice now, and it will cost you way less than if you put it off. Going to college or trade school when you are young, full of energy, and very likely without family obligations means you can pay now and play later.

Sadly, very few answers are available for the youth of today. Making decisions without a frame of reference for the gravity of what we are choosing is like playing Russian roulette with our futures. Though it is not implemented on many high school campuses to my knowledge, I believe there should be a personality test administered to graduating high school seniors to help determine where they should consider setting their sights in terms of their major path or career goal.

The Briggs/Meyers personality test, for example, is an amazing and utterly fascinating glimpse into how each of us is uniquely wired. Administration of a test like this could save years of angst and heartache for those going forth into the world without a clue about where they’d like to end up. Without knowing what your strengths are, how can a person possibly know what they could feel passionate about? Without knowing your weaknesses, how can a person know what paths to avoid?

And so, aside from some vague steering in a general direction, there is not a truly comprehensive ‘test’ given to determine what someone’s calling is. And so, it is with trepidation and more than a little fear that most head out, hoping that they have made the right decisions. Yet they have no basis by which to gauge if this is the case until years have passed and they are utterly committed.

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About Nathan and Joanna Cornett

We are a from San Diego California, currently on a mission trip in Guatemala. Nathan has worked as a youth pastor, teen center director, college advisor, and now missionary. Joanna has worked at LaBahn's Landscape for 7 years in the field, sales, and as the Vice President, she started the Hispanic ministry at Foothills Church, and has worked in youth ministry, she is now working as a missionary. We are both passionate about youth, worship, and missions.

2 responses to “At what point are we prepared to decide our future?”

  1. Pete says :

    Related to your suggestion, “I believe there should be a personality test administered to graduating high school seniors to help determine where they should consider setting their sights in terms of their major path or career goal”, one such personality test is available at http://browsecareers.com/ and there are others. A good first step in understanding interests and career options.

    • College Life Planning says :

      I like that, but it focuses on ‘what I like’, not ‘who I am’. Students need to use the tools available, but the right questions must be asked. What I like changes (often), but who I am is very slow to change (which can be good and bad). Finding my calling/purpose/passions is all about digging deep. The debate among parents is, can a teen go deep? Does a 16 year old have the ability to “know thyself”? I say yes. I say that they can ‘find themselves’ very early in life and then live out of their passion and purpose for their entire lives. Why settle for a career we hate in order to simply work, retire, then die? You don’t have to. Find what you love. Then do it.

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