Students weigh in on career educationLast in a series When it comes to looking at life after high school, each student struggles with something different.
By: Stefanie Briggs, The Dickinson Press
Last in a series
DICKINSON - When it comes to looking at life after high school, each student struggles with something different.
For Dickinson High School junior Emily Bren, the future itself is a major hurdle.
“I’m just trying to decide what to do with my life,” Bren said. “I’m thinking of teaching or going into speech pathology because I know I like to work with kids.”
Bren isn’t alone. The doors of opportunities are open for all students, and colleges often are knocking down the door to get to teens.
“The most overwhelming thing for me was all the colleges,” DHS senior Allison Pavlicek said. “I kind of did the process backwards because I got overwhelmed from all the information the colleges were sending me in the mail.”
Pavlicek found out which colleges offered the degree she sought and narrowed the list down from there. Knowing where she’s going and what she wants to do didn’t happen overnight.
“As an underclassman it was overwhelming,” she said. “I had a bunch of colleges I applied to and accepted to that had the degree program I wanted. From there it was mainly just making a list comparing what I wanted and liked. I narrowed it down to two and visited those two schools.”
Pavlicek knew Western Michigan University was where she wanted to pursue an undergraduate degree in psychology. She also would like to get a master’s degree in applied behavioral analysis.
“For a career plan, I’m taking my degrees and becoming an applied behavioral analyst,” Pavlicek said. “Maybe I’ll go to a hospital or facility to work after that. I could start my own practice, but I don’t know if I want to do that right away.”
For Pavlicek, the specialized psychology career interest is personal.
“My younger brother is high functioning autistic, and back in eighth grade I heard of this kind of treatment, applied behavioral analysis, so I did some of my own research and got really interested in it,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in the treatments he goes through too.”
DHS senior Levi Svihl’s career interest comes from something he just enjoyed and is excited to pursue. Svihl is going to Bismarck State College for auto technology. The career idea didn’t hit him until his junior year of school.
“Before that I wasn’t sure,” Svihl said. “I’ve always been interested in working on cars. I do it with my dad, Jerry Decker.”
The biggest struggle for Svihl was the ACT.
“I was nervous,” he said of the ACT. “Other than that it’s been easy.”
After college, Svihl is still hazy. He could go to a garage or a dealership to work, he added.
“I work on cars outside of school too,” Svihl said. “At home, I’m working on a Honda Civic. I tore the engine apart and I’m rebuilding it from the bottom up.”
People will sometimes go to Svihl for car help, he added.
Jon Fast is a unique freshman at DHS. Fast is already on a four-year track for his class schedule for computer science.
“I like putting computers together. I’ve always been interested in computer technology,” Fast said. “My friends and I don’t really talk about college or life after high school.”
Putting the four-year plan together was a challenge for Fast because of the tight schedule he keeps.
“I want to be able to take other classes too,” Fast said. “There’s no wiggle room with my schedule. I’m thinking about taking summer classes for my four-year track so I can take other classes during the school year like food prep or welding.”
For Pavlicek and others, career interest tests have been helpful to figure out their futures.
“I always knew I was interested in helping people and working with people,” she said. “Career interest tests helped to narrow things down for me that I kind of knew about, but needed to see on paper.”
As a junior, Bren might do some job shadowing and is looking to work at a daycare to see what it’s like to be with children.
Pavlicek suggests getting exposed to college life or visiting colleges as soon as you have narrowed down your interests.
“I went to a college orientation a couple weeks ago that told you all about college life and I was blown away by all the stuff you have to do,” she said. “I went to a student medical conference last summer and it was set up like a college lifestyle. A lot of it opened up my eyes and I was like ‘Wow, this is what it will be like next year.’”
Those little things such as talking to people who have been to college or exposed to college life through a program is nice, Pavlicek added.
“During the summers, be on the lookout for what colleges offer like extra programs where you can stay there or visit it for a while,” she said as a suggestion. “It’s different when you’re actually there.”