A Confidence Boost

Students might genuinely be interested in getting involved at a young age but the “experience” factor may seem disheartening. It is often times discouraging to have a lack of experience stand in the way of any career field, or profession, you might want to explore. From taking on an internship/volunteering to obtaining a job, trying new opportunities can be scary and overwhelming– especially if you feel like a “newbie.” In fact, many students run across this obstacle where the work environment is predominately inclusive of people that may be more “experienced.” Being in such a position at such a young age is difficult, because young people often respond to the “inexperienced” comment with frustration.

Try asking a few high school students about this, and you will very likely get a wide range of responses. A high school freshman, Kaitlin, started off by saying, “It’s a bit like high school, I guess. It’s not like I can change my year, so I can’t sit next to the big, bad high school seniors.”

Yullisa, a high school sophomore, in the search of a summer job has felt the lack of experience to be discouraging as well.

“It’s something I can’t change dramatically soon enough. It’s annoying to say the least,” said Yullisa.

As someone with little experience at the time, Yullisa could not help but be frustrated with the reasoning many business places seemed to have.

Another high school student, Elizabeth, agreed that few business owners would seem to give second thought to many of the applications she submitted for work positions. When she first started her summer job search, it seemed that she “would never get a job, ever.” Throughout this past school year though, Elizabeth eventually found a place to start and has been working.

Of course age cannot be changed, but does age, which is often connected to experience, have to be a deterring factor?

As much as age may dominate high school, it is difficult to believe that age could be that influential and important elsewhere. Speak to someone like Yullisa and you might see the ways to pursue a career interest, a bit differently.

She is a high school sophomore and though she might be an academic year above Kaitlin, Yullisa has had to overcome a few fears in getting involved in her own school campus and beyond. This year joining the Mock Trial team at school, she managed to push herself past her fears. She’s interested in becoming a probation officer and views Mock Trial as something she might likely be able to connect with that particular career. She admitted that it got to be “…so much fun as [she] kept going to the meets and prep sessions, that not being scared was something [she] got used to.”

Such an attitude should be far more encouraged, for any teenager.  Feeling frustrated may be overwhelming, but there is a glimmer of hope. The only way someone cannot gain experience is by not doing anything. Everyone has to start from somewhere and worrying that your work might not mirror the level of older or more experienced people does not improve the situation.

To ensure that teens don’t pass up a great opportunity, here are a few tips to boost your confidence. 

#1: Remember that trying something new cannot hurt you.

As difficult as starting off in a new environment can be, never let the possible hardships deter you. It’s a given that nothing that is ever worth the sincere and committed effort, can be easy. Thinking about it in this way can often help you more than a negative and intimidated mindsets ever will. Give yourself an opportunity to love a new and challenging experience. It will be worth the efforts.

#2: See the opportunity in its fullest.

Making the best of it will ensure that you’re on the right path. Don’t forget that even if you don’t get any coveted positions, make any great projects, or do anything extraordinary on the first try, you can improve. Keep in mind that you can do better, so just because you haven’t yet, you have more than enough time to learn and accomplish more with any new experience.

#3: Have a friend or sibling join you.

Sometimes it’s easier to go along and start off with someone you trust by your side. If you don’t feel like you can do it on your own, at least at the beginning, invite someone to join you. You don’t have to start something new by yourself. It’s very likely that if you ask, they would say yes.

 #4: Just do it!

As much as I and any other person can give advice, you should just go for it. Don’t think that the fear of making mistakes should stop you. You shouldn’t let anything stop you. Go for it because if you otherwise don’t there is no way you will ever achieve what will be worth all the collective efforts in the world.

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