Life Beyond High School - Preparing for the Next Steps
Whatever your plans are after graduation, here are some thoughts on how to continue your walk with God and make the right choices that fit your gifts.
BY Amy Kopecky
High school is a zany time, isn’t it? It’s juggling classes, jobs, sports, music and clubs; it’s investing in your relationships with God, family, and friends; it’s learning to manage money and hormones. And all the while, you’re slowly learning how to 'adult' for your future.
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily stuff and forget about launching into the world stuff. High school is an amazing opportunity for learning and making memories, but it’s also a short four years of preparation.
So what’s next for you? Let’s talk about some action steps you can take to plan for your life post high school.
Be You, Not Them
It’s no wonder that people who get famous on social media are referred to as “influencers.” They have an incredible amount of power over their followers’ lives— influencing opinions, fashion, ideas, culture, and yes, even you. Do you ever envy or try to emulate these filtered personalities? Their popularities, images or jobs? Don’t let them detract from God’s fingerprints on YOU.
God shaped you and is continually shaping you into a unique and purposeful piece of art. He has plans to prosper you and has prepared good works in advance that are unique to you, even before you were born! Don’t try to be the person on the other end of the screen. Don’t try to be your friends, parents, or anyone else. Be you. You are the only one who can! Here are some ways to get started:
- Listen for God’s voice in his Word and prayer to hear what HE has to say about you.
- Journal about your most meaningful life experiences and what they might say about your future.
- Dream big. Make a list of colleges and careers or jobs that excite you.
- Take a spiritual gifts inventory and career assessment to learn more about your talents and skill-set.
- List ways you can use your gifts to impact the world for good.
Talk with Trusted Advisors
Have you ever talked with your parents or trusted mentors about your future? If not, consider making them a nice dinner or asking them out for dessert to share your dreams. Ask them what they see as your strengths. Ask them if they see you in a particular profession or trade. Ask them about the choices they made, (and yes, even the mistakes!) which they can share with you so you can learn from them, too.
This would be a great time to start up a conversation about financial expectations. It benefits parents and kids to know in advance how college, accommodations, insurance, transportation, and general necessities will be covered. Try to find out early if you’ll need a job and how much money to aim for in scholarships.
Next, talk with your guidance counselors to get inside information about colleges, schools, scholarships, and especially the timeline process for tests and applications. Plan to do this as an underclassman so you can make a realistic plan that won’t rush the process.
Knowing what’s ahead helps you be present in the day-to-day moments instead of worrying about the unknown future.
Plug into your community
At LuHi, there’s always something exciting going on. Whether it’s attending games or concerts or going to dances or out with friends, our close-knit community likes to create lasting memories together. If you are an underclassman, keep coming to events and help build our school's culture! If you are a senior, we encourage you to plug into the community at your college, workplace, church or wherever you land next.
No matter your grade set aside intentional time to invest in activities that will reap future fruit. Find paid or volunteer jobs that will develop your character, give you hints about what you’d like to do after college, and that you can list on your college application or job resumes. It’s practical and also a fun way to make new friends and establish beneficial connections!
Most importantly, seek out ways you can make a difference in your community, living as a servant leader like Jesus. It will impact the world and it will also impact you.
Ready or not, graduation is coming. Embrace the dreaming, planning, list-making, and crucial conversations now so that your future can be exciting rather than scary. God has an adventure waiting just for you!
This blog was originally published in 2020 and has been updated for accuracy.
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