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Posts for October 2013

When I grow up I will ... uh-oh! How to find the career path for you

Have you ever been asked the age-old question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" If not, it is something you have probably given some thought. And, the answer has probably changed several times. If you are struggling to discover what career path you should take, consider the following and weigh your options carefully before making a final decision.
child in construction hat
1. Start with where you are. What classes do you take in high school or college that you particularly enjoy? For instance, if you really enjoy your science classes, a career in healthcare or environmental science might be for you. Love math? Perhaps engineering or accounting would be a better fit.

2. Volunteer. Learn more about possible careers while giving back to your community. This is a great way to test the waters of potential career options with no strings attached. Volunteer at an animal rescue group or veterinary hospital if you have a passion for working with animals. There are many volunteer opportunities at hospitals and nursing homes if you are considering a career in healthcare. There is not a better way to get a feel for a day in the life of a job than by actually experiencing the environment and duties that occur on a regular basis.

3. Try something new. Take a class that teaches you a skill you have always wanted to learn like drafting, automotive repair or cake decorating. You might find a hidden talent you didn't know you had. There are often low-cost community instructed classes available for everything from photography to dance.

4. Already have a marketable skill? Try starting your own business. See if you can find local companies who'd be willing to pay you for your help with web design, writing, or art. By doing some freelance work, you have a great chance to make some money while exploring a possible career path.

5. Many schools offer special visitation days for interested potential students. For example, Western Dakota Tech holds WDT Eagle Night several times throughout the year. This is an excellent opportunity to meet with Instructors, Financial Aid, Admissions, Career Services, Special Services and Counseling Services. This is a one-stop-shop where you can get all of your questions answered. Even if you are unsure of which direction you want to take, Eagle Night is a great chance to gain some inspiration, and ease some anxiety that you may be feeling when thinking about what you want to do in the future.

So how can you tell what you might want to be when "I grow up"? The best time to decide this, of course, seems to be sometime around middle school, but if you happen to have gotten to high school (or beyond) and have no idea what lies in store for you beyond graduation, don't despair. There is never a 'right' or 'wrong' time to start planning for the future.

The most important thing to remember when trying to decide what to do after high school is that there is not an incorrect answer. The best way to determine whether a career is a good fit for you or not is to try it, and you can't do that until you learn something about it. If you think that you have an opportunity to try something that could turn into a career that you love, it would be time well spent to test the waters. Don't be afraid to try lots of things in attempt to find the one you'll love to get up and do every day. Remember, it is okay to change your mind if you find out you don't like something. You never know till you try, so take a risk and go out and experience some career options.

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WDT is closed Friday, Oct. 4

WDT is closed Friday, Oct. 4, because of the weather.

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Balancing School and Life — Mission Possible?

When considering school, it's easy to talk yourself into "I'm already too busy" or "It will take too much time." Don't miss the opportunity to get involved in the field you desire by making excuses. It is possible to balance school and life! Follow the tips below and begin your journey to a bright future.
Create a Schedule

In order to maintain balance between school and life, you need to set a game plan. Block out time for the non-flexible parts of your day, such as work, school, and commuting. Plan the flexible blocks of time into family, homework, and "open." Once a schedule is in place, look for ways to multitask within the schedule or to delegate when possible. Don't forget to build time for the things you enjoy such as exercising or simply hanging out with friends. These things will help you feel less stressed, and you will be able to enjoy them guilt-free. By managing your time, you will not have to worry about schedule overload or trying to do everything at once.

Establish a support system

Whether you are a non-traditional student or going to school right out of high school, higher education is a commitment. Even the best of students find new challenges present themselves when it comes to attending school and keeping up with daily routines. If you have a support system in place by way of parents, friends, your spouse, and even your employer, you will find most of the challenges you encounter can be overcome. When you decide to go to school, sit down with the people in your support system and share your goals, uncertainties, and doubts. Prepare them for helping you in a bind and to help to keep you motivated along the way.

Tell your boss

Many students go to school and have full-time jobs. Let your employer know your plan for your education and that it may require a bit of flexibility. You may be surprised to find that your boss has ideas to help, especially if part or all of your studies are applicable to your current job. Working and going to school is not impossible. Having support from your workplace can make a huge difference in your success in both arenas.

Set goals

When you are signing up for classes, realize that it is going to take time. Most schools can help you to map out your academic plan. Be reasonable when determining how much you can take on at a time. It's easier to take smaller, defined steps toward something than to work toward one overwhelming goal. It is important to not take on too much in the beginning and find yourself burnt out half way to your final goal. Know the requirements of your program, and set the course for a realistic completion date. Put specifics (and specific dates) on paper. Celebrating small steps along the way will help you stay motivated and focused on your final goal.

If help is available — take it

If you are undertaking a new educational path plus juggling work, home, and other activities, try not to fall into the trap of attempting to do it all. Every student faces unique challenges that deserve unique attention. Explore your campus for support services — you'll be surprised how many centers, offices, staff, and resources are dedicated to helping students overcome challenges. With proper support, you'll make the most of your time and efforts and will avoid wasting valuable time and energy.

Focus and trust in your plan

If you have taken the time to create a schedule, stick to it. When you're studying, keep your mind on studying. When you're with your kids, try not to be distracted by your long to-do list. And if you take an evening off, enjoy it. Naturally, things will happen that you need to adjust your time accordingly, but avoid the urge to change things haphazardly, which will leave you feeling distracted and off balance. If you've allotted time for something, give it the attention it deserves, and do not feel guilty about setting aside other things.

Everyone faces struggles in balancing school and life. Try to keep things in perspective, and realize that what may be a struggle now will have a great impact and benefit on your future.

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