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Editorial: Encouraging the exploration of post-secondary pathways

Lynbrooks+support+and+promotion+for+programs+such+as+the+Job+Shadow+helps+students+explore+more+unconventional+career+paths.
Amanda Jin
Lynbrook’s support and promotion for programs such as the Job Shadow helps students explore more unconventional career paths.

Exploring career options beyond purely academic pursuits is a crucial aspect of a well-rounded education that nurtures creativity, communication and critical thinking. While all of these traits are important on their own, they also complement the subjects students can pursue in higher education. Lynbrook’s initiatives and support for programs such as Job Shadow encourages students to explore a wider range of subjects, cultivating an environment that helps students become more prepared for college and their professional careers. While these initiatives are helpful for students, there are still many other methods in which educators and students could take advantage of career exploration opportunities. 

A 2022 study conducted by the Educational Credit Management Corporation surveyed high schoolers and found that 39% of the respondents have taken some sort of class or program that helped them determine what future career path would be best for them. This shows the importance of having programs in place for students to take advantage of. 

Lynbrook already provides a variety of resources to help increase students’ exposure to a variety of career paths in an immersive way. The PTSA Job Shadow Program is an especially unique opportunity in which students are able to follow workplace mentors and make well-informed decisions about their future pathways. The program enables students to experience a realistic workday and develop many important skills such as professional etiquette, communication skills and job-specific abilities. Students can apply to a variety of jobs in fields including the arts, education, culinary services, STEM and more.

“I think it will give me a basis for different medical field companies,” junior Vidhya Grace Nair said. “I would be able to get a better sense of what companies do on a typical day in the medical field and if I want to go into that profession.” 

Another method Lynbrook uses to broaden its career exploration efforts is through the counselors’ use of Naviance, a college readiness software that provides students with tools for college planning and career assessment. Students are also offered opportunities to gain firsthand work experience within the school, such as working in the cafeteria or the main office. 

These resources complement the diversity of Lynbrook’s curriculum and have succeeded in allowing many students to try out different career paths. By continuing with such programs and exposure, Lynbrook can continue this streak of pushing for even more career inclusivity and exploration. 

Although Lynbrook has a wide range of class offerings, the district has many more classes in place. Mythology/Folklore writing, commercial art, woodworking, and more are courses offered within the FUHSD district, but not at Lynbrook. If a class is offered at another FUHSD school, a student can arrange their schedule to take the class at that school for one period. Although this is an option available to students, traveling to and from Lynbrook to other FUHSD schools can prove ineffective and overly time-consuming.  

Another option for students is to take advantage of community college courses, which offer a broader range of subjects that cater to many interests. These college courses are free for high school students to take through Lynbrook if enrolled through the offered pathways. Online college courses offer the flexibility needed for students in high school while providing a more specialized and in-depth education catered to their interests. Currently, many Lynbrook students take courses at De Anza, Foothill and West Valley College. Exploring these courses helps students discover their passions in subjects that they previously would not have been able to look into.

“Keep an open mind, think about what you are truly interested in doing, and do not just follow the least resistant path,” Assistant Principal David Erwin said.

One way to further promote career diversity is by introducing discussions about different career pathways into classrooms. School staff who were involved in various fields before teaching can share personal experiences in their respective fields. For instance, literature teachers can talk about prior jobs they may have had in the field of journalism or professional writing to share their experience and advice with students who are interested in pursuing a career in writing. Art teachers can do the same by sharing possible career pathways for art majors in architectural design, photography and more. Teachers can show students that fields such as art can open the doors to many workplace opportunities and life skills.

Keep an open mind, think about what you are truly interested in doing, and do not just follow the least resistant path.”

— David Erwin, Assistant Principal

“There’s something called soft skills, which are the relational, social and emotional skills that are prevalent in art and many other humanities,” art teacher Judy Schulze said. “In my art class, we’re collaborating and thinking creatively — out of the box. We are learning how to solve problems in a different, visual way. No matter what people end up doing after school and in their career, these skills are extremely important.” 

Another way to increase career inclusivity is by inviting alumni to share their non-traditional career paths. By sharing these experiences with Lynbrook students, these alumni can improve the inclusive environment. Many students are unaware of the more non-traditional pathways after high school such as attending a trade school, which specializes in teaching students the technical skills needed for their chosen career path such as welding, computer repair or plumbing. 

Furthermore, Lynbrook can partner with local businesses and organizations year-round, giving students a chance to partake in hands-on work experiences and insight into more career opportunities. Although Lynbrook’s Job Shadow event has successfully allowed students to be exposed to various workplaces, it is still only a one-day program. Long-term internship opportunities hold the potential to be even more impactful among students, as they allow students to truly experience and understand different careers, and grant students the time to discover where their passions lie. 

Many Lynbrook students already participate in meaningful organizations that help their peers explore different careers and connect them to helpful internships. The District One Youth Advisory Council is a student-run organization that aims to propel career-related success in FUHSD. They are hosting a Career Exploration Fair, led by Lynbrook students, freshman Anushka Deshmukh and junior Aanya Mishra.

“The main goal of the event is for students to connect with people with similar passions,” Mishra said. “Students can learn more about that field, how others got interested and what opportunities there are currently in the world.”

Lynbrook can continue to encourage students to participate in these organizations by more prominently advertising in places such as weekly emails, the morning announcements and on Lynbrook’s website.

Lynbrook offers a rich variety of opportunities that foster career diversity among its students. From the PTSA’s Job Shadow program to the in-depth career-exploration features on Naviance, Lynbrook has actively contributed to creating a more inclusive learning environment that supports non-traditional career and educational pathways. Lynbrook can continue to increase inclusivity by sharing career diversity in classrooms, hosting more alumni guest speakers and partnering with nearby businesses to open up internship opportunities for students. Through the combined efforts of these current and new initiatives, our academic community can continue to promote and facilitate career exploration among its students.

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About the Contributor
Amanda Jin, Staffer
(she/her) Amanda is a sophomore and a new staffer for the Epic. In her free time, she enjoys playing video games, listening to music, and watching random cat videos.

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