Students Finding a Professional Path
By Jason Carpenter
As students at Novato High School go through four years of high school, are they being fully prepared for college and beyond? That’s the big question facing Hornets of every grade.
Many people understand their own talents and skills and know what activities they enjoy. However, when it comes to finding a professional career, students have a tougher time figuring out how to use their personality and passions to find their path.
Gustavo Shinzato, a counselor at Novato High, provided some insight.
“I hope that we are able to guide students toward what they want to pursue,” said Shinzato. “It’s hard to ask a student who is 18-years old what they’re gonna be when they are 40 or 50. So I think we try to do as much as we can to support students on what they would like to do and what they’re interested in doing.”
Students can learn how to use their innate skills and talents, as well as their personality type, to figure out what they eventually want to become. One common problem students face when applying for college, is deciding their major. In many cases, graduating seniors at Novato High enter college undeclared, which means they have not selected a major.
“I would say maybe a majority of the students go undeclared or undecided. It’s not a major problem because most students will change their majors anyway, over and over again in college, about up to 3 times on average,” said Shinzato.
NHS has a number of ways for students to discover their passions.
One method is Naviance, which is a program for students that helps them get ready for college. Naviance is a great way to determine a major. On its website, students can get help with the application process, choosing a college, along with tests that will display personality types. By submitting their extracurricular activities, students receive suggestions for possible majors, which could eventually lead to future jobs. Novato High administrators also created the College Career Readiness class that can also help prepare students for college.
Senior Colin Farrell has an idea of what he’s interested in pursuing, but does not feel the pressure to choose a career immediately.
“I’m not exactly sure what career path I want to pursue, but I’m interested in physical therapy,” said Farrell. “With each school that I’m applying to, there is a different major that I have picked out. Most of the majors I’m applying to are under sports medicine or finances.”
Careers and jobs do not necessarily have to come from academic backgrounds, as they should be something individuals are excited about. Outside of the A-G requirements, which students must complete in order to be eligible for UC and CSU schools, students have other options to explore their interests.
Novato High currently has 52 clubs available on campus, featuring a diversity of different groups, each focused on a unique topic. Clubs are another way to develop interests and become ready for life after school.
“To prepare students for the real world, I try to include a lot of collaboration in my class,” said Heather Arnold, a biology teacher at NHS. “I also hold my students accountable to being organized and manageable with their homework.”
Nowadays, the workforce has changed, with more people following multiple career paths. This is because college students are starting to develop more than one skill.
“I think having a variety of experiences is a benefit to anybody, especially students,” Shinzato said. “So if a student is really tunnel-visioned and focused on a certain thing, that’s a problem. I think the workplace in general now is quite broad. I mean, there is a lot of skills that one needs to have in order to be successful. I don’t think you just go into one thing, having one skill, and try to do that forever.”
Changing career paths is common in these days. Many people will do one thing, and then later realize that they are not happy and decide to do something different.
According to Shinzato, counselors have arranged trips to the College of Marin’s Indian Valley campus, where students have been shown how to obtain certification to be an automotive mechanic, medical assistant, or court-room recorder.
Many students at Novato High are unaware there is an internship coordinator on campus. Sita Williams, who is in the Novato High library on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., is a great resource for students looking for internship opportunities. These internships are intended to provide real-world experience.
Novato High has done a solid and effective job preparing its students for college, but there’s room for improvement.
“I think there is a lot more things we can do in counseling and to provide students with a little more things to get them a glimpse of their future,” said Shinzato.