Since the dawn of time (and the first day of kindergarten) students everywhere have been asked: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As Quest Forward Academy Omaha begins its third year, we’re focusing on preparing students to take real steps to pursue their post-high school dreams.
Living up to our mascot’s hardworking reputation, Quest Forward Academy’s upperclassmen swarmed back to campus early for an intensive two-day Career Bootcamp. As the new Internship Coordinator, I joined forces with School Counselor Sarah Earnest and Mentor Jennifer Dalbey to lead the troops through rigorous activities to spark future-focused introspection.
Surprising Outcomes of Self-Assessment
We challenged students to think beyond that generic, age-old question. Instead we asked them to consider why they are drawn to certain professions, and the required steps to achieve their career goals.
We took turns leading students through a variety of self-assessment tools such as the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, Clifton Strengths assessment, and the Kuder Interest Inventory. Students received personalized results that led to future-focused introspection and lively discussion. They began to understand how their personalities, strengths, interests, and skills fit together as a guide for career exploration.
One student, Ian, a self-professed “city-kid,” was surprised that a certain inventory suggested that he pursue a career in farming. Discussion with the boot camp leaders and other students helped Ian to realize that the assessment was keying into his strengths for rolling with the punches and adapting to change.
Ian described Career Bootcamp as an eye-opening experience. “The various assessments gave me a new outlook into the skills I have and how I can use them to my advantage as I consider possible careers,” he said.
Comprehensive Resumes & Confidence
Students left Career Bootcamp feeling more confident, inspired, and supported about their future goals and armed with robust resumes. Sarah explained, “Unlike traditional resumes that focus mostly on employment history, the comprehensive resumes that students completed at bootcamp reflected a variety of experiences, such as advanced coursework or leadership positions students have held.”
“The goal is to teach students to put their best foot forward when applying to colleges, internship sites, and employers through showcasing their strengths and accomplishments,” Sarah added. Students who wouldn’t have had much beyond “babysitting” on a traditional resume were encouraged by how nicely their new resume conveys a competitive edge.
While the ultimate question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” still looms, Career Boot Camp helped Quest Forward Academy students learn about who they already are and how their unique strengths, interests, and skills play into their future pursuits.
Time flies when you are having fun, and as students beeline towards a future beyond the academy walls, we are honored to arm them with the perspective, experience, and tools they need to succeed.