Many Paths to the Same Destination
You’ve thought about it, your getting ready to move on from graduating or being graduated from High School. Maybe you embarked on getting a job right out of High School and now you’re wondering where to begin, what is the best next move for your life. Being now a bit older, having teenagers of my own, let me impart with you my insight of experiences available after high school.
Let me start by stating that I am a full believer in educating yourself and building the tools needed to grow both intellectually and interpersonally. When talking about options after high school it is an important statement to share with others when talking about choosing the right next step.
After high school, I signed up for a 4-year school, in my favorite location, Santa Cruz CA. It had everything I desired, i.e. great campus, course selection, and dorm living. Unfortunately, despite the many people who were a support to me, I fumbled and became caught in a negative campus party lifestyle that removed me from….getting to class. It was a new social experience of freedom I had not experienced before and it quickly took hold of me. I lasted 1x semester until I finally realized that I was slipping fast and felt that I would head down a darker more painful path if I remained. I came home, feeling defeated, guilty, and shameful for my inability to remain “strong”.
Upon returning and asking the question, “Ok now what?”, It was my father who put the idea of attending a Discipleship Training School through Youth with a Mission in Chico. I realized that for me, having grown up in church my whole life, I needed to discover my faith on my own and develop a personal relationship with Jesus.
The following year I ended up completing a 9 month Discipleship Training School experiencing world travel, deepened friendships, cultivating musicianship, and being apart of reaching others through ministries of hope. I met my wife and ended up getting married a year later.
I reemerged into the educational world when I was 26 years old and went on to complete a drug and alcohol counseling certification, and then received my Masters as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Trust me when I say, I put my pants on like you, one leg at a time. It was hard work, I had accumulated 3 children, worked full-time in a homeless shelter, and cultivated relationships in my life that were paramount in the journey.
What I discovered is this. “I get it”, as a parent, as a therapist, as a once young student myself, It feels right to enter into the educational world after high school. At the same time, I see many who maybe just don’t fit this “mold” right in the beginning.
What is important is to look at “what you need” instead of simply following the norm or expectations of others.
Whether attending school, looking to travel, joining a Discipleship Training School, or finding employment out of high school, it’s important to consider all the options. Sometimes there are many paths to the destination. Gather all the information you can, talk to people who will give you honest advice, pray, and then trust what God has placed on your heart. You may discover that your path my take optional turns, yet it can provide you with exactly what you need in the long run.
Tim Stephens is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist working full time in Youth with a Mission Media and assisting individuals, couples and families in his Private Practice. Tim has been married for over 20 years to his beautiful English bride Claire and their 3 children Maddie, Mollie and Toby. Tim has a passion for music, and providing a framework for a healthy quality of life.