Is 18 really old enough to choose a life path?

@JenInTN (27564)
United States
July 29, 2012 7:15pm CST
I guess I was thinking about this the other day...just thinking about how many paths my own life has taken I guess. Going to the orientation to highschool with my youngest daughter where they want her to choose a specific educational path. There is a dual program with the local college where she can have a degree before she even graduates, but..now she is only 14. That is very young but she has some ideas. I guess I am reflecting and thinking, how is it possible to expect someone, that young, to know? It is not that I think they are not capable..it is that there is so much that the world has to offer that I feel like it is pushing things a little bit to expect them to know before most of them have even had a chance to realize what there is out there. Since I was that age, my life has changed a ton and it is nowhere near what I expected. I made choices I never thought I would make and have changed my paths a million times..lol. So what are your thoughts..is 18 too young to have to choose? They are certainly expected to know by graduation, right?
16 people like this
59 responses
@allknowing (70918)
• India
30 Jul 12
Maturity is based on individuals' exposure to life Jen.. No matter how careful one is with regard to choices, however, there are so many external factors that rule us. So, taking things in one's stride and expecting the best for us would be the way to go!
2 people like this
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
30 Jul 12
I do expect the best and I know that maturity and exposure is the key. I just think that society puts a lot of pressure on the age 18. It seems like everything is supposed to be done by then..lol.
2 people like this
@allknowing (70918)
• India
30 Jul 12
I think eighteen could be considered an age where one is able to take decisions provided as I said external factors help one achieve one's goals. I too had to change my plans all because of external factors. This happens to all of us.
2 people like this
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
30 Jul 12
It is the age of adulthood here. Your right..it does happen to all of us.
1 person likes this
@pals101 (2011)
• Philippines
30 Jul 12
From my own view, at age 18 is not enough. You still have a long process to do, many experiences to have. Many things to learn and share among others. As we grow old, our experiences in lives makes as strong, especially in the heart. Maybe at age 18, we already can make choices, but still it does not fully guarantee that this choices are good for us or for anyone special to us. I suggest just go with the flow and make God the center of your life, because i believe that if you make him your goal,partner,friend,whatever it is..you will find success in everything that you do. :)
2 people like this
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
30 Jul 12
Going with the flow has certainly been one of those things that have been..well..let's say unavoidable for me..lol. Sometimes the best things are never planned. There is also that plan that is out there for us that we never account for until it is there. I don't really contribute that to an age but I have considered that at the age of 18..with the world to see..it might be tough to decide something on a finalized basis. Thanks for the response!
@pals101 (2011)
• Philippines
30 Jul 12
You're welcome my friend, my only suggestion is that when you fall, never be afraid to stand up again. Try again, until you succeed.. :)
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
31 Jul 12
Wonderful advice..thank you.
@1hopefulman (33710)
• Canada
30 Jul 12
I don't think the age number is really the important factor. Some people are sure of what they want to pursue, while others are uncertain. This can be the case at any age. But, it's good to make some decision so that we can keep moving. If the path turns out to be not to our liking, we can always change direction.
2 people like this
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
31 Jul 12
Hi hopefulman! Yes..your right. A path can be a great thing. I think that flexibility is super important when considering a path these days. The only thing that is consistent is change.
@ANTIQUELADY (36488)
• United States
30 Jul 12
HI JEN, I think it's way too young & don't think the school should put those kind of restrictions on a child. I wish people would let kids be kids & not push them to being an adult before they really are.
2 people like this
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
30 Jul 12
That's how I feel too. I want my children to excel and be all that they can but, at the same time, I wonder why society has sold us this magic age of 18? Thanks for the response!
2 people like this
• United States
30 Jul 12
Yes its too young to pick a permanent path,but one should get headed in the direction that we might want to go.Always with the idea that it is not set in stone and can be changed if a better path is found. So she could say this is what i think i want to do with my life. but don't be surprised i mighjt change my mind.
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
30 Jul 12
I think it is a good starting point too. A starting point being key. It is very rare that we find something we enjoy doing and then be able to make a living from it. I want that for her, but I am also not naive in thinking it will be easy to find. It is a rare deal. Thanks for the response!
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
30 Jul 12
Oh..welcome to myLot! I hope you are enjoying it here.
1 person likes this
@teamrose (1499)
• United States
30 Jul 12
When I was 18 I knew absolutely everything. All adults 21 and older were just stupid old people. However, by the time I turned 25, I realized how really little I knew, and had time to correct some of the decisions I'd made at 18. That said, it is good the schools make the young choose. It is important to at least start a career path. One can always change further on down the line. Choosing early makes one at least focus on something constructive.
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
31 Jul 12
Me too. Change is the one thing we can depend on. I agree that a path can be a good thing...flexibility another. Thanks for the response.
• Philippines
30 Jul 12
I think that 18 is the right age to choose what path you are going to be in. When I was 18, I had to choose my course that I would be taking up in college. Some parents would like to choose for their own children, but my parents made me do it by myself. When you are 18, you already know somewhat what you want and what you like doing. But these decisions can still change after they graduate. I was enrolled in a law course. When I started college, I really thought I was going to end us a lawyer. Now that I am nearing graduation, I have no plans in being a lawyer. I just realized that I really did not like the idea of studying so many books in a short span of time. Anyway, going back to the question, I do believe that at 18, they can already decide for themselves. Parents must be there only for guidance.
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
31 Jul 12
Thanks for the input. I think that even though we choose..no matter what the age..we are always entitled to change our minds. The important thing to me would be that it was what I liked. That is a rare thing really.
@choybel (5059)
• Philippines
30 Jul 12
I know I am nowhere near what I planned years ago. So much have changed and I can really say that where I am right now is actually not part of the plan I had. I don't know if 18 is too young or too late to choose something for life, but I do know that it would be best to have a plan and somebody to guide you to it as early as possible. However, I do agree that at 14 there is still so much to learn and to choose from. It would actually be hard for many to REALLY know what path to take at that point age. For me, I believe that preparation is really good and having an early plan helps a lot, but I would very much want that plan to be flexible at all times, because experience can change a person's mind and heart.
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
30 Jul 12
Very well said choybel! Mind, heart, and experience are all things that have great effects on our paths...even the most carefully planned. I know that sometimes I feel like I have lived a million lives. Sometimes I think it is good, sometimes not so much but nonetheless, it has made me who I am. I have no doubt that her experiences will make her too. Thanks for the response!
1 person likes this
@squallming (1776)
• Malaysia
30 Jul 12
I believe that age does not really gives an idea that one is able to choose the paths in life. What may be a determiner is knowledge and experience. If you look at it, we have been forced to choose our path even before the age of eighteen. In our school, by the age of fifteen, one would have to choose between science stream, accounting, economy and other art stream. By that time, most high school students would not have much idea about all these subjects which will determine their future career. They need to be exposed to the subjects before arranging them into taking those subjects.
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
30 Jul 12
I do know there is maturity and experience to consider and age is not always a determining factor. I guess I just think that it's a lot of pressure and that people should have a little more time to make these kind of choices. At least the ones that will last the longest. I may at 18 decide to go into accounting and then be driven by whatever force; management,life,something newly discovered to do something else entirely..then all that time I spent to be the best accountant could have been spent on what I would be really good at. I know that exposure can only help but I think that society has placed a great deal of importance on the age of 18 too. Thanks for the input!
1 person likes this
@else22 (4319)
• India
30 Jul 12
A nice topic.I think,it depends on one's maturity.My son is 25 now,but I know he is still not mature enough to make right decisions.On the other hand,I know kids of 8 or 9 whose parents have been slum dwellers.They are far more mature than my son.I have seen them taking right decisions when they have to opt for the right choice from among multiple of them.Here in our country,India,a boy or a girl of 18 is considered mature enough to use his or her franchise.The truth is that these kids have no idea about the policies of different political parties and their impact on the country's future.Consequently they are easily swayed away by the rhetoric of cunning political leaders.
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
31 Jul 12
Thank you. You bring a very interesting point to the table here. The younger generation here who have not had the "tougher times" tend to seem a bit more like they think they are entitled than those who have had to struggle through a certain social class. It's almost like they get a certain sense of pride that gives them nore direction. Perhaps that has a great impact on choices.
@else22 (4319)
• India
31 Jul 12
You are right.Those who are from well to do families or from affluent families have a pride and they think they are mature enough to opt for right choices.But the fact is that they automatically get more options to choose one from among them.On the other hand,those who emerge from struggles often don't have as many options as the affluent do.But maturity,I think, is different from availability of choices and lack of them.It would perhaps be difficult for me to define maturity. Did I get what you said?
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
4 Aug 12
Oh yes..you understood me. I totally agree about the fact that well to do families get more choices too. Environment can play a huge part in the choices we make because it can effect the choices we have. I absolutely think that people can overcome and do better than what they are presented BUT I also have a great respect for those that do because it is challenging to rise above our means sometimes. I would have a hard time defining maturity too.
@RawBill1 (8542)
• Gold Coast, Australia
30 Jul 12
I think that 18 years old is really too young to find the right path for the rest of your life. If in fact there is a path that suits us for our entire working life. For most people I don't think there is as we evolve over time and our interests change, then our jobs normally do as well. I had no idea what I wanted to do at school, so I left at 15 and worked in a factory for 18 months. I then started an apprenticeship at age 17 working on cars. At the time I thought that was a great career, but regretted it a few years later. I stuck at it though for 16 years as it was what I knew and what paid me the best, but I did not enjoy doing it for many of those years. Now as I approach 40, I am doing something enjoyable, but it is not something that I see myself doing for the rest of my working life. Who knows what the future brings. Now I wish I had stayed at school, tried harder and had gone on to university and into a higher paying career. I may not have stuck at it for life, but at least I would most likely have had a better income along the way.
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
30 Jul 12
That's a good point RawBill. Maybe there is no such thing as a right "rest of your life" kind of path. I could not imagine how stuck I might feel if I chose to stay with the path I had on my mind when I was 18. Thanks for the response.
@RawBill1 (8542)
• Gold Coast, Australia
30 Jul 12
Yep, gone are the days when we left school, got a good job and stayed in it until we retire like our grandfathers did. That would be a very boring existence! No worries!
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
31 Jul 12
Who wants that anyway??
@GardenGerty (104331)
• United States
30 Jul 12
She maybe will find a general direction. I am surprised that they can get an entire degree by the time they graduate. My daughter had a semester. Here you must be 16 and still attend the high school a minimum of 3 hours daily ( cannot lose that federal and state money) In sixth grade, so about twelve, my daughter wanted to be a school counselor because "I can do better than the ones they have now". When she found she would need an education degree she was not so interested. She is a stay at home mom, but has a ministerial degree with an additional music emphasis. I have changed many times over the years and I am still undecided.
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
30 Jul 12
That's odd how a school counselor needs a degree in education. Psychology would have been my first thought. I have changed a lot too GardenGerty. There are a lot of choices for her at this school and hopefully she will find a general path. Thanks for responding.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (104331)
• United States
30 Jul 12
Usually counselors and principals start with their basic teaching certificate, then add other emphasis like psychology as they go on. That also was just specific to our school district. In another district where I worked the counselor was a licensed social worker, who also coached women's volleyball.
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
31 Jul 12
Oh..I see.
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
30 Jul 12
Dearra says, "NO"
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
30 Jul 12
No to choosing or no to too young?
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
30 Jul 12
no it's not really old enough
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
30 Jul 12
It has a way of sneaking up quickly too.
@MsTickle (24994)
• Australia
3 Aug 12
Over here, kids have to choose at 16. The subjects they choose in senior high school are important to get into university so they have to not only decide what they want to do but they have to know what is needed to get there. It's crazy. What if you make the wrong choice and that career path is actually not for you, or, like you say, what if for a million reasons you change your mind? I think they should have a break from school and do work experience in a few different fields for a couple of years. Then, they can return to school refreshed and with a clearer more mature idea of the direction in which they want to go. I have had this idea for a long, long time.
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
4 Aug 12
Could you imagine the culture change if people started following that idea? I have thought the same thing. That the age of decision should be after just a little living and experiencing. Looking back, it is crazy for me to consider deciding on something that young. It's not that I don't think they can do it, I just think there are a lot of things that are missed that way. Could it create a happier and healthier society? Interesting to think of really. Thanks for the response. How have you been?
1 person likes this
@MsTickle (24994)
• Australia
4 Aug 12
It's a pretty "out there" idea. lol. I think people would be happier and healthier and more well adjusted. I've been OK thank you, quite busy most of the time.
• Indonesia
31 Jul 12
compare with the same age teenage, I always found that I'm mature than my friend. it's because my parents educate me to be independent and do everything by myself. even so, yes, 18 years old is very young to choose life path, but there are a lot of teenage made a great achievement in their young age, even younger than 18!. I do make my own choice since around 18-19 years, but the decision I made is like decision without thinking further or just kind of "hurry decision". I made a lot of stupid mistake then regret it after years, but then that's make me learn more and know myself better.
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
31 Jul 12
Me too..along with another million trillion. Life experience makes who we are and we can control some of that, but not it all. Learning from mistakes, I think, is what creates us as a whole. Thanks for the response.
• Indonesia
31 Jul 12
experience make people
@Dominique25 (9475)
• United States
30 Jul 12
I completely agree with you.Like you mentioned it's not that they aren't capable it's just there is so many different directions they can go in. And as youth age their likes and dislikes will change. Something they think they may like to do as a career now may not be the same in two or three years yet alone for a lifetime as their career. It does take more time and consideration to figure out what they want. Some go to college and still aren't sure of what exactly it is that they would like to do.
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
31 Jul 12
It really made me think. The thing is that is so common that people here are expected to choose paths at that age. I can't name even one that has actually stayed on that particular path. Life changes us. Thanks for the response.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Aug 12
Yeah that definitely is the crazy thing. That in so many places young ones are suppose to decide what to do with their life. In some countries youths younger than that are encouraged to start thinking about starting a family. They are really so young. Life definitely does change us. But I hope that many youths will be able to reach their goals without causing themselves financial ruin to their life trying to choose a career.
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
30 Jul 12
Shell probably change her mind a dozen time before she graduates just like we did. but at 14 is really to long from that time to find out what she wants to do in life. By the age of 18 might have a better idea of what she realy wants to do more than now. LIke I went to work steady for first time when I was about 55 years old they asked me where did I want to be in 5 years!. I told the rich lolol but not working at that job . some kids already knojw way before what they want to do its just getting there is the thing to work for
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
31 Jul 12
I know I have been crazy about changing. There is so much out there that it is hard for me to imagine limiting an 18 year old..you know? Maybe that is where I have messed up. I haven't wanted to limit things. Hmm..interesting thought. I wonder what it would have been like to just know and go. Life has been a huge factor in my choices. Thanks for responding!
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
1 Aug 12
your so welcome
@bounce58 (17524)
• Canada
27 Aug 12
This is actually my downfall. At a young age, I've already recognized that the world indeed has a lot to offer. This made it difficult for me to choose my own life path. I've jumped from one path to another. So I envy those young people who are able to decide right away. But I bet that for a handful who are decided, there's thousands who are not yet.
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
31 Aug 12
Maybe that is why I had no idea what I wanted to do at that age too..lol. It seems like I have been down a hundred paths. I'm not sorry though. I have learned alot from my adventures. I think that it is an age of discovery and sometimes I think that we should structure things in a manner that allows people to do that for just a little bit. We are structured now to choose at a very young age..pursue it and settle down in a marriage. This is apparently the way it is viewed best for society. Thanks for responding and I'm sorry it has taken so long to respond back to you. Life has been crazy busy.
@RitterSport (2452)
• Lippstadt, Germany
21 Aug 12
hi dear Jen its the same over here. When I was a teenager I wanted to go to Bible School. My father said he would not even give me a dime for something like this. My father was rich and parents here are supposed to pay for the first tuition after school their children have, so finance them studying till they have a diploma for the first time etc. He wanted me in a medical profession but I was and am lousy in maths and science so I said no thanks. Finally we agreed on me studying to be a librarian. It was only three years at an University of Applied Science, so very much like school. I pulled it through and graduated but when I finished I found out that there simply were no jobs. So with a fresh diploma I did all kinds of jobs and later had a retraining as a banker financed by the Unemployment Agency to get young academics off the street so to say. Finished that as well and guess what I do for 19 years now?Never worked as a librarian, only half a year as a banker, and now I am doing Workers Compensation where I read - medical stuff - all the time. Ha ha ha.
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
21 Aug 12
It is truly amazing how our lives change over the years. It's a shame that you weren't able to do what you wanted to try in the beginning. I had no idea what I was supposed to do or even wanted to be. At least you got a compromise out of him even if you never actually did what you went to school for..lol. I think that the only thing that we can depend on to stay constant is changes. Thanks for sharing.
@moulee87 (320)
• India
16 Aug 12
Hi Jen! We have lots of phase in life. Each and ever phase helps us to gain experience to invade the next phase. But we always need some guidance to work on the phase for the first time! As you said 14 is not the right age to choose the correct degree program! We need to have some guidance to choose it! Also, 18 is too young to get married! You might be fully matured mentally to run a family life. But you would have not grown up physically completely to have a child after marriage! I think marriage at 18 is like child marriage! In India girls get married by 21 to 25 and boys by 24 to 27. I think this is an optimum age to start marriage relationship mentally and physically! Anyways! Everything happens at higher cost and we are not in a position to make it to happen at the time we need. Only god decides everything and he make the people to stand at right place at right time with right choice and feelings! Happy lotting!
@JenInTN (27564)
• United States
18 Aug 12
No matter what we choose..life certainly does have a way of putting us in places we never thought we would be in sometimes. Thanks for responding!