Have I ever remarked on how completely ridiculous it is to ask high school students to decide what they want to do with the rest of their lives and give them nearly no support in doing so?
Support like, say, spending a day apiece watching twenty different jobs and then another week at their top three choices, with salary charts and projections and probabilities of graduating that subject given their test scores? The more so considering this is a central allocation question for the entire economy?
I’ve been meaning to remark how surprised I am that not even the students themselves seem interested in researching such things, or to even think of it. Similarly for their families. It’s not expensive to phone a few people who are doing your dreamed of career, and I expect many would be happy to talk or show you the ropes. Even if high school students aren’t that strategic or farsighted, I would expect a given one to have at least one e.g. great aunt who would think to say ‘Stop! This is a really important decision! Maybe you should research it beyond your ridiculously naive imaginings and a the stereotyped impression your lay-parents have given you!”.
It would make sense for not many people to do this entering college because they didn’t have much idea what they wanted to do yet, but it doesn’t look like people do it later either. And even if you are entering college without knowing what you want to do later, it would probably make sense to at least contact some current students doing your proposed degree and find out something about what that is like. I did neither of these things, I’m not sure why. So far I’m confident the latter would have helped. I don’t know of anyone else doing much research, but maybe they just don’t talk about it. What’s going on?