Did you know what you wanted to be when you were 14?

Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, NJ, is forcing incoming freshmen to declare their majors beforeImage_816_4
the very first day of class. Administrators say it will "…make students stay interested until graduation" and "…stand out in the hypercompetitive college admissions process." I say balderdash.

This is an absurd idea. Few, if any, 14-year-old kids I know have clearly formulated career goals. I know at that age, I was set on either succeeding Tommie Agee as the Mets centerfielder or cajoling Mick Jagger into finding a place for me with the Stones. I’d never heard of public relations or entrepreneurship
for that matter.

There’s enough pressure on adolescent kids today without adding a ‘career’ burden. ‘Repman, Jr.,’ for example, is stressing out big time about his future career path (and, he’s a college senior).

I’m all for improving the quality of our secondary school education system and its graduates, but forcing kids to make decisions that will impact their entire lives is unfair and potentially destructive. Let’s let them be kids a little longer.

6 thoughts on “Did you know what you wanted to be when you were 14?

  1. When I was 14 (which actually wasn’t that long ago), I was completely pissed off about the fact that I had to take biology and math classes, when all I wanted to do was learn about history. I KNEW I was going to be an archeologist. 2 years later I was absolutely sure that I would grow up to be a politician. After I graduated, I enrolled in business school, just because I wasn’t sure what else to do. I found my passion in Marketing and I am absolutely thankful that my high school forced me to take a broad and diverse range of classes, enabling me to truly make up my mind.

  2. Valid points, Rob. You are clearly the exception. I think most 11-year-olds would be bewildered and frightened to make such serious decisions so soon in life.

  3. When I was 11, I went to a junior high with a similar set up to Dwight Morrow High School. Everyone in the school had a “talent,” which ranged from athletics to science to art to math to singing or playing an instrument.
    This approach may seem limiting because students don’t get a broad choice of electives, but the concentration they choose plays to their strengths, and they can learn to focus on one thing, which stays consistent.
    Society today presents students with a plethora of stimuli, which to many students is distracting. They may begin to take on too much, while forgetting exactly what it is that they are good at.
    Remember, the teachers at Dwight Morrow High School still have a curriculum to follow, which means everyone still has to attend their science, social studies, grammar, literature, math, and gym classes. If they can’t develop their critical thinking and communication skills in these mandatory classes, something is wrong with there.
    If they have a class that plays to their strengths, isn’t that beneficial rather than detrimental?