If you are a recent graduate of high school, college, or technical school, take time to acknowledge your achievement. Completing any of these levels of education is a milestone. Recognize what you did well, the challenges you faced, the obstacles you overcame and the people who helped you along the way.
Once you have done that, it is time to ask, now what? If you have a job lined up, a plan in place to further your education or both, you might already be immersed in living the answers to that question. If you don’t have either, don’t panic, you are not alone and you do not have to go it alone.
There is no time like now to explore your options. Begin by thinking about the relationships and connections you already have. Talk with family members, friends, neighbors, or others you know to help you think about what you want to do next. Those conversations may lead to a wider network of contacts that can guide you to and through application processes for school and/or work opportunities.
Beyond your personal relationships, whether you are looking for work, wanting to continue your education or both, there are community resources available to you. This “top 3 list” can get you started: Career Link @ www.careerlinkberks.com is a good place to begin looking for employment opportunities; Reading Public Library Reference Librarians @ www.readingpubliclibrary.org can help you search for employment or educational options in the local community; and Reading Area Community College @ www.racc.edu is a good place to explore academic programs as well as career and technology training options.
Finally, if you have a few hours to spare, consider volunteering with an organization that matches your interests. Volunteering is a great way to build your network, learn more about our community, and try new things. You can begin searching for volunteer opportunities using the United Way’s volunteer guide @ www.uwberks.org/youth-summer-volunteer-opportunities/
Just like when you walked across the stage on graduation day, each step you take will lead you to your next step – trust your feet and your heart to guide you.
Berks Teens Matter
by Nadine J. Smet-Weiss, Community Liaison; translated by Johnathan Rodriguez-Báez, HRC and Youth Ambassador Coordinator