What Advice Would You Give Teens Preparing to Enter the Workforce or College?

Beginning the career journey as a teen can be overwhelming. Deciding on a college, deciding if college is the right option, picking a job or trade of interest - all of these forks in the road can be a tough call for people who are barely old enough to drive a car.

What advice you would give (or have already given) to the youth of today as they prep for life in the workforce or in college?

Johns Hopkins is a member of the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, which is hosting two programs designed to help inspire teens to pursue and achieve their goals through classroom interactions with professionals like you. The programs each include a training session.

If interested in volunteering, see the Inside Hopkins announcement. You can learn more about these opportunities or register for a program by visiting www.thestemnet.com.

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A. Carter September 29, 2014 at 2:25 pm

What Advice Would You Give Teens Preparing to Enter the Workforce or College? The advice i would give those entering College is to take it one semester at a time. Get a passport, so that you will not be limited to one area. There is a WHOLE BIG WORLD out there just waiting for you. Lastly, i would tell a teen entering college is to tell your parents, to leave you alone and allow you to experience life for yourself.

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robin September 28, 2014 at 12:28 pm

dont stopp at one degree keep going while you are young
and save money for retirement as soon as you begin that career job

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Karen Edwards September 26, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Put God first in everything you do.Pray on whatever career choice you make or major in for college. Don't be upset with yourself if later in life you decide you want something different than the job you have or you're major in school. As long as you have learned something, nothing is lost. We are all gifted in something, find your gift and your passion to help you decide what you want to do in life. You do your best work when it is something you enjoy and passionate about. Surely it is good to have a job that pays a great salary but it is even better to have a job that you love and it shows in your work. Be open to new ideas and new challenges.It is okay to go that extra mile. Believe me; it will pay off in the long run.Surround yourself with positive people and learn from them. Celebrate life and all the good and challenges that comes along with it.

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Krystle McConnell September 26, 2014 at 9:45 am

Remember that very little in life is permanent, at least when it comes to matters of choice. Go with the choice that feels right to you in the moment you're making it. If, in a year, you decide you don't want to be an engineer after all, even if that's what your plan was, that's ok. Find something you are passionate about and don't be afraid to change course. Plans are wonderful tools to guide you and you should definitely have one, but nothing is set in stone. Better to try a few different paths to get to the right one than to stay the course on the wrong one.

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Robert O'Connell September 26, 2014 at 9:33 am

Get a degree that will lead to a job. Any job.

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Katie September 26, 2014 at 10:41 am

Agreed! And then work for a company that provides tuition reimbursement to advance your options!

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T. Franklin September 26, 2014 at 9:27 am

Hello my daughter is 19 years old she have been working since she have been 15 years old she have saved her money and bought her first car in her last year of high school and now she have a 2014 toyota corolla and she makes her own payments and is currently a manager at walmart and this is her second year of college, she is studying to be a RN. I have instilled in her that if you want it you can have it. It can become a little hard at times but she is fighting through it, and we support her 100%. I want her to have her own stability and stand on her own 2 feet but know if she needs us as parents we are here for her.

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Joyce Agyemang-Danso September 26, 2014 at 9:23 am

Excellent comments so far by everyone, but especially to Michael- BRAVO!! I have 2 teenagers (17 & 19) and I am always educating them and their friends, almost to a "T" of what every one has said but not as in depth of what Michael had to say about the financial aspect. I'm going to make sure they read this colum. Often times our "preachings" to youths in regards to college and the workforce appear to fall on "deaf ears" but it's our hope they here us and they make sound decisions for their future. We will continue to advice them-: study hard, be respectful of others, dress appropriately, work hard and go that extra mile. Be a good steward/citizen of society, and absolutely gain the wisdom in financial planning early on in life like Micheal mentioned. This is my prayer/advice to teens & college grads heading/entering into the real world. The sky is the limit if one is truly dedicated & determined to reach it.

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Roseann Harris September 26, 2014 at 9:13 am

If unsure what career you are seeking, pick an industry to get your feet wet & explore the endless possibilities.

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Monica Talor September 26, 2014 at 8:21 am

As already mentioned in the previous comments, one needs to start before the 8th and 9th grade. It’s a lifelong preparation from Kindergarten to adulthood. Learn to be respectful, learn to keep an open mind, take any job that comes your way since you don't know how where your next chance will come from. Don't underestimate your potential, believe in yourself. And lastly don’t hesitate to ask for help.

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Alicia September 26, 2014 at 7:51 am

It is important to have a team of mentors to guide you throughout middle and high school. In addition take advantage of any accelerated courses or summer enrichment programs thus staying ahead of the game. More importantly surround yourself with intelligent people.

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Julene Suggs September 26, 2014 at 7:23 am

I have told youths to get all their education while they are young. Work hard, build up their skills in their younger years and when they become older they will reap the benefits of it.

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Susan K September 26, 2014 at 7:20 am

Don't be too worried about choosing the "right" job. Pursue your current interests with enthusiasm, produce quality work, and you'll develop skills that will lead to new opportunities. You might find you like certain jobs you'd never have considered otherwise. Doing nothing while waiting to for the perfect career path to reveal itself will leave you with empty years and nothing to show for it.

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Michael September 26, 2014 at 1:25 am

You're playing the long game. As a teen, your most valuable asset is your youth--use it to your advantage. You can work harder, work longer, think faster, and be more creative than your older (and perhaps better-educated) colleagues. When you consider your options, always ask yourself: is this the best possible use of my time? Am I just passively waiting for the next thing to happen or am I creating opportunities for myself and advancing my career? No matter what path you are on, the person who always goes the extra mile, who makes everyone smile, who constantly seeks out responsibility and delivers results--that person will thrive and prosper. The person who accepts things as they are and always does the bare minimum never escapes the rat race.

The other thing to consider carefully is how to make the dollars you earn start working for you. Anyone can be rich as long as he is patient and prudent. Being "rich" isn't having a private jet or a fancy house. You're rich if you don't need to worry about day-to-day expenses and have passive sources of income that will tide you through the rough spots in your employment. The time to learn about taxation and investing is before you have significant income. Learn everything you can about tax brackets, deductions, 401(k) and 403(b) programs, employer matching, Roth IRAs, IRA conversions, mortgages, interest rates, and the tax implications of interest versus short-term gains versus long-term gains versus dividends. Especially learn about opportunity cost and the time value of money. If you read deeply about these matters early on, you'll figure out how to play the game to your advantage. Most people don't even realize they're playing a game at all. My first job was very humble and paid about $23,000/year. But I saved like crazy and took advantage of every tax-advantaged program available. 12 years later, the savings from that first job add up to almost $200,000. Learn the game now and work it.

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Bonnie C September 25, 2014 at 9:50 am

I would tell them to dress appropriately for the job, and learn to listen to instructions. Even the most mundane job can be done more efficiently if you know what is expected of you. If you come to work dressed for that job you won't be concerned about soiling your new shoes, or staining a favorite shirt or blouse, etc. (and, depending on the job, dressing appropriately is just plain more comfortable).

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