To develop almost all of the skills required to thrive in a world that is rapidly and constantly changing, (resilience, leadership ability, team-work skills, initiative, persistence, emotional intelligence, optimism, determination and courage) young people need to be prepared and eager to step outside their comfort zone. They need to try new activities and seize opportunities. They need to be doing this as early as possible rather than waiting until they complete secondary school or post-secondary studies.
To quote from one of my favourite movies, Dead Poets Society, students in today’s challenging times really need to ‘Carpe diem’. They need to ‘Seize the day’. The teacher in this wonderful movie urges his students to make their lives ‘extraordinary’.
Every student can strive to be extraordinary and seize the day by taking up opportunities to be involved in activities and interests both in and out of school. New interests not only bring a lot of fun and a sense of achievement, but will also develop many important employment skills. Just being willing to give new challenges a go, helps teenagers develop resilience, persistence, determination and a positive attitude to life in general. It should never just be about winning. If this is the attitude, so much is lost along the way. Not every student can be a leader, but every student can be a team player. Not every student will walk away with the highest ATAR, but every student can walk away knowing they tried their best and worked with determination, persistence and integrity.
Every student has unique gifts and qualities. Every student has the ability to make their life extraordinary by living life to the full. In addition to being involved in a wide range of activities in and out of school, part-time jobs and voluntary work are also amazing opportunities to develop many vital employment and life skills. In essence, I encourage every student to develop a positive attitude and a ‘Carpe Diem’ outlook. Students need to…
- participate in extracurricular activities in and out of school
- find part-time jobs
- apply for leadership positions at school
- join clubs and teams – sports teams, music, chess, SRC…
- enter competitions and team challenges
- find opportunities to complete voluntary work
- consider completing holiday activities where they will not be with school friends – this is a great way to learn how to interact with new people and make friends
- offer to mentor younger students or join any school activities that show a community spirit
- offer to help at school functions such as Open Days or school carnivals
The future leaders of tomorrow, the career and personal success stories we love to hear about are rarely about cautious, conformist or self-centred people. They are almost always about social, thoughtful, empathetic and resilient people who have a never-give-up approach to life’s challenges. More attractive employment opportunities will be there for people like this. They will have developed the employment skills and personal qualities it takes to ride the ups and downs and the twists and turns in their future career journey. They will know how to communicate and work with others and have demonstrated a ‘give-it-a-go’ approach to life. They will have what it takes to thrive in uncertain and constantly changing times.