Life After School

by Annelise Ball

UAC, QTAC, VTAC, SATAC; do these acronyms mean anything to you? If so, you’re probably one of the thousands of people across the country who’ve had their dreams fulfilled – or dashed – over the past week. With the release of first round offers to universities and TAFE’s, many students who’ve missed out may be wondering what an earth to do now with their life after school!

If you weren’t accepted into your first preference, it is most definitely NOT the end of the world. There are plenty of ways to get where you want to go. Consider thinking a little differently about the whole subject; widen your scope to investing in yourself, rather than a tertiary course alone. It’s getting harder to rely on only one qualification for the rest of your life. Lifelong learning is the single most important investment you can make in order to guarantee success in the long-term.

In the twenty-first century, there’s no longer something called a ‘job for life’. Most Gen-Y’s can expect to have multiple employers, and even career paths, in their lifetime. Take me for an example. I’ve had about sixteen different jobs over an eighteen-year period. The longest I’ve stayed in the one workplace was just under three years. I have two university degrees – a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Social Work – but after all that study; I’m now choosing to embark on a career in copywriting, blogging and social media.

What I’ve learnt is this; your skills are transferrable. A unique package of talents will just evolve as you go. For example, I’m finding the counselling skills I learned in social work to be useful when interviewing people for blog posts. Whilst working in retail as a university student, I developed skills in customer service and sales that are now invaluable to me as I start my own business.

So, even if you’ve just landed a spot in the course of your dreams, keep the following in mind:

Educate Yourself   Read broadly; experience working full-time; watch online lectures and tutorials on YouTube or the Lifelong Careers website; or even just do some backpacking. You’ll be all the richer for it.

Embrace Technology  Look at websites such as freelancer.com, elance.com or odesk.com. These sites allow people from all around the world to register as freelancers in various types of disciplines. What skills could you offer? Also, download the Lifelong Careers ‘Career Advice App’ for some instant tips when you need it.

Be part of a community  You’re not alone! ‘Like’ the Lifelong Careers Facebook page as your first step towards joining a like-minded community. Check in for some regular advice and support about jobs and careers.

Find a mentor  Is there someone you admire who is successful in work or business? Ask them to be your mentor. Alternatively, think about getting a career coach who can guide you through all the options; help you plan and set goals; and introduce you to helpful networks.

Life after school is full of possibilities. A whole new world is opening up to you. Keep an open mind, stay positive and embrace lifelong learning. You’ll be fine!