During the last year of secondary school commonly called middle school, each boy and girl is called to make a choice and will have to face an important step for the future: the choice of the educational path that will allow him to realize his aspirations. Making such a choice at the age of fourteen is difficult, because almost nobody at this age has clear ideas about their life project; moreover, it is really very difficult to imagine themselves in a future that seems far away. It is time to question one's own resources and capabilities. What can I do? What do I like to do? What am I getting at? What do the others expect from me? Do the conditions exist to carry out your projects? It is difficult for an eighth-grade student to answer these questions alone. You need the support of adults, such as parents and teachers. Parents can help to find a path that can enhance their aspirations, while teachers, considering the school framework and the potential of each one, will express a non-binding, but to be taken into account guidance for the choice.
In any case, every young person will have to choose freely, trying to follow their ambitions and passions and, in case they realize they have made a mistake, they can always change, without fear and without discouragement.
In order to make the best decision, you need to focus on three important aspects:
- Reflect on yourself, seriously assessing your abilities, desires and interests;
- To inform oneself about the world of work, the opportunities offered by the territory in which one lives and the professional outlets of the future;
- Know the organization of high schools, the educational purposes of the different types of schools, the certification that provides each school address, the professional or university outlet that it makes possible.
In order to choose the course of study to be undertaken after the State Examination, it is necessary to know the organization of high schools (called secondary schools) in the current educational system. A comprehensive reform of the second cycle of education and training came into force on 1 September 2010, with significant changes both in the programmes and in the type of institutions and guidelines. The reform provides that studies can be continued by choosing between three pathways: high schools, technical schools and vocational schools.
Faced with an ever-changing labour market, no one is likely to do the same job for the rest of their life. The greatest opportunities in the future will only be available to young people who are willing to adapt to new tasks and keep up to date. This will require a constant relationship with study and an open attitude to new things.
Here are 10 basic tips to make a serious choice and to always be proactive in any kind of change:
1. Learn to read and write well: it is essential to read at least one newspaper a day and at least one book a month to learn facts and enrich your vocabulary;
2. Learn languages: today English is the decisive tool for communicating with the rest of the world;
3. Learn computer skills: computer knowledge not only allows you to increase your individual working skills, but is a resource and a title to be used in many jobs;
4. Do not neglect manual work: manual work should not be underestimated because it is in great demand;
5. Developing the culture of internationality and mobility: in the society of the third millennium, it is necessary to abandon the search for a permanent job at all costs and to enhance professional mobility, since interest in work, learning new things, responsibility and initiative are the main elements for doing a job;
6. Accepting any initial work experience, so as to never remain inactive: any initial work experience, even in fields far from one's own, can be useful to acquire knowledge and information and is also important to learn how to network (socialize);
7. Inform yourself continuously about changes in your field: look for information and specific books to be constantly updated;
8. Do not divide life in two but always alternate study and work: you must always dedicate a percentage of your time to continuous updating and this is only possible with an alternation of read-study-work. It is therefore no longer possible to divide life into two phases, first study and then work;
9. Collect, organize and accumulate "info-riches": accumulating news and information is the only real guarantee to seize the countless opportunities that global society offers.
10. Don't cry about things that don't work: we often hear that school doesn't train us as it should, the State doesn't update its teachers, politicians govern badly and so on. Apart from the fact that the same complaints can also be heard in countries where public administration and politics work better than in Italy, the only thing to do is not to complain but to fight for things to change and to roll up our sleeves.
Rita Levi Montalcini said that "time is money", but it is not time that counts, it is motivation and commitment that is invested in the pursuit of the chosen activity.
Translated by Francesca Cioffi
Original version by Valeriana Savino