Different Footprints, Different Paths

   Different students follow different footprints

   Student’s futures and the paths they follow

By Alison M.

When we are younger, we are taught to role play, to act out the lives of our parents. From role playing, kids learn about their future careers and the footsteps they may or may not follow.

High school is always the prime time for students to begin to focus on their futures, in other words, what subjects they want to take, where they want to go and furthermore, what they want to be.

Fredericton High School guidance counselor Mr. Andrew Culberson said that students will choose many different career paths when they graduate from high school. The majority of high school grads go on to post-secondary schools; college or university for one or two undergraduate degrees with some pursuing Masters and PhD degrees. Students will tend to focus on one educational program but will have multiple careers.

According to http://www4.hrsdc.gc.ca/.3ndic.1t.4r@-eng.jsp?iid=29 , in 2011, 53 percent of Canadians aged fifteen and over had trade certificates, college diplomas and university degrees. This was an increase of twenty percent since 1990.

Furthermore, http://www.ccsd.ca/factsheets/education/ stated that between 2011 and 2012, 689,700 students in Canada were enrolled in part time or full time undergraduate studies at post-secondary institutions, and there were 482,100 full time students in 1997 to 1998. This number grew to 528,200 in 2001.

High school guidance counselors always encourage students to go on to university or other  post-secondary educational institutions. Presently, the majority of students enrolling in univeristy come from parents who did not attend university themselves. However, these parents continue to stress the importance of education to their children.

“Many factors contribute,” said Culberson, “success, goals, education ideals and values, these are all passed on from the parents.”

Eleanor Waite is a grade twelve student who plans to attend the University of New Brunswick in the fall for four years to study anthropology, classics and English. She plans on taking two years of fun Arts courses, and then hopes to go on and do a double major in anthropology and history or anthropology and English. In addition, Eleanor wants to minor in languages such as Spanish and Latin and she hopes to also become a professor. After UNB, Eleanor plans to complete her masters and PhD in Europe and perhaps become an archaeologist. Eleanor has always had her parents by her side not just for her education, but as her inspiration as well.

“My mother always encouraged me to use the creative side of my brain,” said Eleanor, “she taught me to be a critical thinker, and to second guess what happens day to day in our lives, it’s helped me to understand our past, the present and our future.”

Until two years ago, Eleanor’s mother was an Arts 1000 advisor at the University of New Brunswick. She majored in philosophy, English and history. Eleanor’s father has a PhD in early modern European history.

“I love to learn,” said Eleanor, “my father knows so much and I’ve always been interested to learn about what he does. He’s helped encourage my interest in history.”

At home, children will see and experience their parent’s careers by the type of lifestyle they live. As a result, they will form a like or a dislike for their parent’s career decisions. In addition, children often receive positive feedback from their parent’s jobs, which can reinforce their own career objectives.

“It’s really not too surprising,” said Eleanor, “my parents have always encouraged history. When I was younger, they would buy me books and take me on trips to older parts of Europe and Italy, making history a real hands on experience for me.”

As many students will follow the same career path as their parents, many will also attend the same schools or university as them.

“Parents will often persuade their children to go to the same university as they have an attachment to the school,” said Culberson, “they will want their children to have the same experiences that they had.”

Eleanor’s parents have always helped to pursue her future in history, anthropology and archaeology. Eleanor’s immediate family and grandmother are always encouraging her to pursue her goals as they may not have had the same opportunities as her. As well as family, there are many other people who helped develop Eleanor’s love and future in history.

“My grade eleven history teacher, Mr. Peters, has also helped inspire me to pursue history,” said Eleanor, “he was so animated and he knew so much. Also, my grade twelve advanced placement World History teacher Mrs. McAllister helped to inspire me. She made history class a true university experience and she helped me to become more interested in all parts of history from all around the world.”

Parents are always encouraging their children to pursue their goals and to go on and further their education. Mr. Culberson said that parents’ persuading their children all depends on family dynamics and how strongly parents feel about their child’s education. Although, most are very open to their child’s decisions.

According to http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-008-x/2011002/article/11536-eng.htm, children with at least one parent who completed a university degree are more likely to graduate from university themselves. Studies have also shown that parent’s education levels have a greater impact on their children than their income levels. In the last twenty five years, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of students completing university. In 1986, only twelve percent of Canadians between the ages of twenty five and thirty nine whose parents did not complete university held a degree. This percent had almost doubled by 2009, with twenty three percent of students completing university when their parents did not.

This coming summer Eleanor plans to attend an archaeology program run by the university.

“It’s pretty expensive,” said Eleanor, “but my parents are willing to pay because they know that archaeology is what I want to do.”

Some students may know what they want to do and what career they want to pursue.  However, some students are still undecided or are overwhelmed and confused by all the choices that they have for their future.

“Talk to people, whether it be friends, teachers, parents or guidance counselors,” said Culberson, “do your research, go to career counseling, develop a plan and gain experience for your future.”

In the end, students have many different career paths to choose from, whether it be their parents or their own.




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