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15 year old has no idea what to do with rest of his life!

(14 Posts)
Colliewollydoodle Mon 03-Oct-11 14:02:26

Who can blame him! confused
My son is nearly 16, and dyslexic. He is having to look round colleges ( no sixth form at his school) and try and decide which college and what subjects to take. Problem is he has absolutely no idea what to do. He doesn't have any strong subjects, or one he is really keen on. He is begining to panic as all his friends seem so sure of what they want to do. Husband thinks he should do something that will earn him some money, I feel he should do something he likes as he is more likely to keep at it! Needless to say as a dyslexic lad his self confidence is not good, and he's terrified of making a fool of himself.
Any advice gratefully seceived.

chrchrch Mon 03-Oct-11 14:24:30

Could he start by choosing no more than three A levels he'd be comfortable with, and can meet entry requirements for? Avoid any that are less valued in tertiary education, there's lots of advice about which ones to avoid and which ones are ok.

That'll give him a little more space and experience, maybe less anxious about the meaning of his life etc etc. He has a very special brain, and provided he keeps his cool, he will find his place. As long as he keeps going and the options as open as is sensible for him, he should hold onto the fact that his brain is hard wired to achieve in many areas essential to success that others will never have, even with much practice. Even though they can do little fiddly detail that he stuggles with, at lower educational levels, which is all that he's experienced to date. When he gets through his A levels, he may find university much easier than 'normal' children, because of the creativity and type of thinking needed.

Even the emotional struggle young people like your DS will have gone through can become an asset. He should believe in himself. Ask himself how well most of the 'normal' children would have coped with what dyslexics have to even before they go to nursery. Another 15 years on, you may wonder why you posted this.

lljkk Mon 03-Oct-11 14:35:31

I had no idea what to do with my life at 15, either. Am very impressed by anybody who does (or thinks they do). I expect a lot of his mates will be planning something completely different in 1, 2 or 5 years.

My thinking is that he should write down
1) What he's good at (ask other people's opinions)
2) What he likes most to study/do
3) What he thinks he might like as a FIRST career path (because most of us have more than one), try to focus on what seems like there would be plenty of jobs in that "area"

See if he can find some subjects/career ideas that would fit in with all three priorities, or at least 2 of them. So he doesn't need to know right now, he just needs a plan to keep his options open.

As for work... plenty of 6th form students also have part time jobs; the two aren't mutually exclusive. That said, jobs are so hard to get right now for this age group, he's better off focusing on qualifications or apprenticeships.

Colliewollydoodle Mon 03-Oct-11 15:18:57

Thankyou lljkk, thats good practical advice something we can sit down and do together and hopefully he will get a bit more of a direction.
And thankyou chrchrch, you are right, dyslexia is a qualification for life in it's own right! We will find out about A levels to avoid. It's taken such a lot of effort and hard work on his part to build up his confidence, I find it hard to watch him foundering, but know it's got to be his decision.
Thankyou so much for taking time to reply.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 03-Oct-11 17:12:37

At 21 I graduated from University determined never to work in an office
I temped for a couple of years finding my feet
then I became an accountant
while pregnant I planned out my full time return to work
and never did

When I was at Uni, University subjects were not meant to be "vocational" the process was to help you develop skills and approaches to learning.

If your DS has no idea, fine, let him have no idea and support him in keeping his options open until he does

)))))))))vocational GCSE / A Levels ((((((((((

cat64 Mon 03-Oct-11 22:08:49

Message withdrawn

gingeroots Tue 04-Oct-11 08:54:20

Agree ,so rare to know what you want to do at that age - which is why I always think vocational courses such a bad idea .
It's like "oh you're not getting good grades at traditional school exams .I know! Vocational courses must be the answer ! "

Purplebuns Tue 04-Oct-11 09:12:25

I think if there is a chance that he will want to go to University, then a wide range of 'strong' subjects so he has a good profile i.e a science subject, a humanity subject (history rather than sociology). etc so he is quite rounded? I remember I filled in a questionnaire that pointed me to subjects I would enjoy, does the school not have a careers office for this sort of thing.

Dyslexia support is usually much better at college level and different colleges will have greater degrees of experience in supporting students, so I think you need to investigate that.

If he starts college and hates his subjects he can swap them either early on, or in the next year. If an apprenticeship is his thing I think there is support for this into your 20s so there is plenty of opportunity to find out what he wants to do.

Part of me thinks I should have just trained to be an electrician wink

Theas18 Tue 04-Oct-11 09:38:42

My kids don't know either!

DD1 has just started a history degree

DS is looking at AS/A2 choices and doesn't know....

I followed a very vocationally orientated path so knew exactly where I ws going. to not know is alien to me.

DH took a degree think it'd be "useful" if hasn't been and he should have done something he'd enjoyed more.

We've just told the kids to do what you love- what fires you up to study- get a great degree and take it from there.

Colliewollydoodle Tue 04-Oct-11 12:36:52

Oh all such good advice ! Thankyou.

tinkgirl Tue 04-Oct-11 20:18:47

quite often they don't know what they want to do but they do know what they don't want to do. Sounds a bit hmm but trust me on this - get a list of jobs (probably find one on internet somewhere) and print it off, then get him to read through it and cross off the ones which he knows (gut reaction) that he doesn't want to do, the important bit here is gut reaction, don't analyse it. then simply have a look at what he has left on the list. It won't be a 'OMG why did we not think of this before' moment but what's left will probably have some sort of theme linking through them i.e. all office based, outdoor, working with IT etc. This might help him to focus on what subjects to take at college.

This is a very low tech thing which you can do at home but if you want a more professional approach then get an appointment with your local connexions / careers office. There are IT programmes which he can complete with them which are a bit more high tech.

bradbourne Tue 04-Oct-11 20:26:00

What sort of things (if any) was your son interested in a year or two ago?
I remember reading somewher that it is quite common for people's "ideal jobs" they think about when they are older to reflect the sort of thing they thought about at around 13/14.

gingeroots Tue 04-Oct-11 20:27:04

Wow - loving that approach tinkgirl ,what a great idea .
( and FWIW ,not much I know ,but I'm an ex careers advisor ).

tinkgirl Tue 04-Oct-11 20:45:36

gingeroots thank you very much <twirls> I am a current careers advisor. I think it just helps to narrow down the search when it seems overwhelming.

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