A matter of choice

Choosing your subjects, pursuing your passions, and setting up for a successful life. All are complicated themes that are part of our lives as students, and all involve making choices. But these choices don’t have to be so hard…

As we progress through high school, our choices become increasingly important to our lives, so it’s natural that we sometimes feel the need to cave under pressure and adapt to expectations. But in doing so, we risk shifting our goals from setting up our lives to live our passions (why we undertake schooling!) to just getting through it. And this leads to the pursuit of something we’re not happy doing.

However, we have the power to simplify this process by exercising this perspective: the only thing we need to consider when making choices is how its outcome will make us feel, especially if it’s something that will enable us to feel true to ourselves and happy. We have the power, and our world has the capacity to make it happen from there!

It is fundamental to our mindset as students to know that we are the only ones who can control how hard a decision is. Our lives are not obligated to include decision making to please any theme, system or person but us. So, why should our career pursuits be?

All intelligence is important!  

The quote ‘Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid,’ relates to the fact that intelligence has multiple aspects and aligns with American Developmental Psychologist Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

He believes there are seven types of intelligence, and that someone may have skills in any of these areas. He also finds that all these skills have equal value:

  • Verbal/Linguistic,
  • Logico-mathematical
  • Musical
  • Visual/Spatial
  • Body/Kinaesthetic
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal

This means despite how we view our passions, and any external input into this (for example, the attitude that if our career plans don’t align with core classes, e.g. maths, English, and science, we won’t be successful), what we wish to pursue is valuable, and reflects a high amount of intelligence as we develop it. Of course, there will be some prerequisite subjects to our desired career course that we might not entirely love, but it’s important to ensure the only reason we’re studying subjects of this nature is that we’re on the path to our passions.

Listen to your heart!

It’s universally known to be more likely that someone will perform better or achieve more doing something they enjoy. For example: did you know that we actually have a nervous system in our heart that forms a little brain? And research done by the HeartMath Institute and explored in their publication Science of the Heart* shows that when we experience positive feelings, our heart-brain actually picks up on this and improves our problem-solving, concentration and clear-thinking (academic) skills.

So, we can’t create holistic success in our lives unless we listen to our heart and pay attention to our feelings!

We can enact positive change in our lives

The truth of our power to make choices in a way that’s oriented to our well-being, and the importance of enacting choices to bring change to our lives when feeling stuck, is something that every high school student undertaking HSC subject selection deserves to hear. But it’s also important for the idea to become part of general school culture.

Because it’s really common for these times of big decisions to become a burden and even stressful, it’s consequently just as important for students to know that making these choices is achievable and doesn’t need to involve the associated amount of worry.

We don’t need to be afraid when we choose to pursue what we enjoy (what feels right)! There are so many opportunities out there for passionate young people, whatever their interest, and in some way, shape or form, these opportunities are ever expanding.

Just remember to embrace your natural skills, passions and talents and see them as valuable abilities that can carry over in any career path you may choose, and you’ll be well on your way to making better decisions.

*Science of the Heart: Exploring the role of the heart in human performance: www.heartmath.org/research/science-of-the-heart/heart-brain-communication/

Words: Laura Kemp

Laura is a high-school student based in the Mornington Peninsula. She is passionate about a world where everyone can pursue what is important to them and wrote this piece to share her belief that this idea is achievable. Her passion is in Law and Politics, and this is what she wishes to pursue, because it enables her to create the positive change she wants to see. She hopes to reach and inspire fellow students as they make subject selections and think about their life, to encourage them to make the most of what makes them happy!

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