Ten Things That 14 Year Olds Can Do To Start Preparing For a Successful Transition to Adulthood
1. Get a Jump start on Your Career Path — Explore!
It’s never too early to start considering your career path, so why not start now? Having a career goal will be a beneficial guide as you transition through school into college. It will help you map out your future courses that best maximize your opportunity to reach that career goal. It also keeps your eyes open to opportunities that would help you gain skills in that field, such as volunteer opportunities or summer programs. Start exploring now! The possibilities are endless.
2. Take control of your future by participating in your IEP and planning with your team
If you have qualified for special education services and have an Individualized education program (IEP) plan in place- know what it is in it! Whether or not you have a career goal in mind, participating in your IEP assessment and meetings can make a difference in having a smooth transition through school. IEP team members set specific goals for the student based on their needs and are often more effective if YOU participate. By being actively involved in the planning process, you are taking control of your future by setting goals based on YOUR wants and needs.
3. Share your ideas with your parents
One way to get your parents involved in helping you succeed is to include them when you are thinking about your goals and preparing for your IEP and college planning meetings. This is a great time for you to express your ideas and interests with your parents, and it allows them to support you in advocating for what you need and want.
4. Plan for College and/ your Career
IEP planning for middle school and high school can be a model to help you plan for “life after high school.” Just as you’ve mapped out your middle school and high school career, college is very much the same way. Meet with your school counselor! Planning high school courses and activities by semester will help you keep on track toward getting into the college or job-training program of your choice.
5. Utilize Questionnaires and Surveys as Tools
Don’t really know what you’re interested in? Finding it difficult to be a part of something? Filling out questionnaires and surveys can be a great tool in guiding you. They can direct you to activities that you’ve never considered and Hey… You might end up loving it! Questionnaires and surveys about career paths and interests can usually be found in your career centers, in your college/career offices in school, or a more complete assessment can be done by qualified professional such as those atAdvance LA.
6. Be Healthy, Be Happy
As you transition into adulthood nothing is as important as being happy and part of being happy is also being healthy. Eat well, exercise, and spend time with family and friends. If you have special medical needs it’s important to understand these limitations and what you need to do in order to keep yourself a happy and healthy person.
7. Develop Independent Living Skills
Part of growing up is being able to do things independently. Like with all things it takes practice until we can master a skill. So, when you feel like you’re willing and ready, try doing something for yourself. Start small. Are your clothes dirty? Ask someone to teach you how to do laundry. Are you hungry? Try asking your parents how to cook your favorite meal. The more you do it the easier it gets.
8. Explore Employment Options
What is more exciting than planning for and landing your first job or internship? At 14 years old, you can begin to research employment and internship opportunities around your neighborhood. Practice interview skills with family and friends. That way, when you are old enough to enter the workforce you will feel confident and prepared.
9. Help Your Parents Help You
You’re getting ready to set foot on this amazing journey where you’re anticipating everything that comes along with finishing school. At every step your parents will be with you. So why not help your parents help you? Talk to them about your interests, share your successes, and ask for help when you are struggling. By equipping them with important information, you are providing them with tools that will help you work together to overcome any obstacles.
10. Sing, Dance, Play
It takes a lot of time and effort planning for your future and in the midst of figuring out classes and creating a plan for success, you also have to remember that this is the time to have fun and enjoy yourself. Figure out what leisure activities you most enjoy and what peaks your interest. Exploring your interests can be just as important as keeping up with your academic work. So if you love to sing, join the choir. If you love music, try the marching band. If you like to argue, join the debate team! Don’t forget to sing, dance, and play.
Courtesy of The Help Group and Advance LA