It’s hard to be a teenager.

Everyone believes they have the perfect plan for your life. They all have suggestions of which college you should attend, for how long, and what you should do after you finish.
By the time many kids finish high school, the pressure is so strong that they feel they have no chance but to pick SOMETHING.
Too many end up with a career they hate and debt on their shoulders.
When you think about it, it’s strange to expect that a 16-18-year-old should have a future perfectly mapped out. And especially when the stakes are high, it’s unfair to expect them to commit their lives to a specific career when they don’t know if they’re going to like it or not.
So if your teens don’t know exactly what they want to do yet, don’t panic.
There are many options outside college for your teen to pursue. In fact, college is the option with the least return on investment! Think about it- your child will pay thousands of dollars to learn about a career. Even if you are fortunate enough to get school paid for by scholarships, you still have to deal with the time cost of 4 years. Those are 4 years that could be spent getting experience.

Why Not Build Your Career?

In today’s world, with the right tools and grit, you can build a career out of almost anything. And if you start young, you have an advantage.
Take Alec Steele, for example.
He dropped out of high school at 16 (a mother’s nightmare, right?). He started blacksmithing full-time to learn the trade. At the same time, he started documenting his work through Youtube videos. He’s good at it: he now has over 1.1 million subscribers. He also makes money through his blacksmithing courses and his online store.
I don’t know what his mom thought when he left school. I do know, however, that nobody looks at his work today and says “Wow. His mom should have made him stick with Algebra!” or “Look what happens when you drop out of school!”
Think Alec Steele is the exception? Soon, he won’t be. Technology is advancing. Information is everywhere; the cost of college is rising. Many young people are realizing that they can prepare for their future and reach their goals much more efficiently by learning on their own terms.
And remember- many highly successful people didn’t have college degrees.

Build a Foundation

Don’t push your teenagers toward college. Instead, give them the tools they’ll need for a strong professional foundation. Instead of taking a planned approach to the teen years, take an exploratory approach!
Here are three things you and your teen can do to prepare for life after graduation:

Build a personal brand.

Create a website where you host all your projects and ideas! This is a way to learn multiple skills at once: some coding, graphic design, branding techniques, and much more. Along with building a personal website comes the bigger task of digging into yourself and finding what drives you. At Praxis, we encourage participants to pick 3 words that describe them at their core. (Yes, these will change some as you grow. That’s ok!)

Find more resources for building a brand.

Maximize on writing.

This is a skill that every business needs. If you can write well, you’ll give yourself an edge no matter what job you’re trying to get. Write about what you love to do or what your newest idea is. Take some time to play around with different forms of writing. There’s copywriting, haiku, poetry, short stories, business articles, and much more!

Check out these writing resources!

Complete projects based on interests.

Nothing is more invigorating than diving head-first into something you love. Even if you don’t stick to it for long, do it 100% while you’re at it. Have a musical interest? Don’t just learn the piano. Take videos of your practice, write about the tips you have for beginners, or compose your own music. Think coding is cool? Invest in a short course and go build something.

Read more about building projects!
When it comes down to it, life readiness is more important than a life map. Being able to prepare for what’s ahead requires focusing on the opportunities ahead of you, and grow through the process!

Keep researching Praxis:

This post was originally posted on the True North Homeschool Academy blog.