kristenHere are a few pearls of advice that I would like to pass along to young women who are considering options for life after high school.

1. Don’t worry if at 18 years old you are unsure what career you wish to pursue. But if you are lucky enough to already be passionate about something, research jobs that align with your passion. Happiness in your career is key to overall happiness; call people in your community who are in careers you think you might enjoy. It will surprise you how open people are to letting young people job shadow; that is truly an advantage of a small town setting- people are genuinely interested in helping you pursue a goal.

2. If you feel that college is the right path for you, find colleges that offer a variety of majors and career paths and use any and all resources to help with your application (guidance counselor, college fairs, etc).

3. Once accepted, get pumped – some of the best years of your life are about to start!! You are going to meet people from all different places and backgrounds and have access to a whole new world of possibilities – it will seriously amaze you. You have a lot of freedom to develop into the person you are going to be, and you will learn a lot about yourself; so just get there. The entire experience is all about learning – who you are, then what it is you are interested in will become much more apparent once you are out of your familiar environment and are meeting new people and being introduced to new ideas.

4. Don’t expect it to be a cake-walk and every day a party; work hard because the reality of life after college is hard. I look back now and remember just how broke and exhausted I was, but also having the time of my life; I wouldn’t change that at all. I am a firm believer that you can and should have a part-time job amidst your college course load; it helps you manage your time wisely and not have too much fun – there is such thing!