by Haley Bracken
As a current senior in high school, I have faced many important questions with unknown answers. What does the future hold? What do I want to do in college? How can I ensure that I will be successful?
I am somewhat certain what my college major will be, but I have no clue what I want to do after college. Those answers are still ahead of me.
However, I do know this. Junior Achievement's mission to help inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy is exactly what we need in our society for those who are unsure of their future goals. Including me.
That is because Junior Achievement realizes the true potential that all students have to offer – even the undecided.
Because of my personal experience with Junior Achievement, I was able to take away so much – particularly gaining more confidence in myself regarding my future plans.
It began earlier this year, when I decided to take the course On Your Own taught by the wonderful Mrs. Rocchio, a business education teacher at Daniel Hand High School.
This course is extremely beneficial for students, as it teaches important, useful, and practical skills needed for the future - such as budgeting, buying or leasing a car, renting an apartment, and even preparing for a job interview. It has provided me with an immense amount of skills that I know I will use in the future, despite not knowing quite yet what it may offer.
One of the most rewarding experiences this class has provided for students was holding mock job interviews, with interviewers from Junior Achievement. I was interviewed by two volunteers, both of whom provided me with valuable feedback.
The day of our mock interviews, I remember feeling tense and nervous, as I had no idea what to expect from the interviewers. I asked myself: would I stutter with my words? What if I didn't know how to respond to a question?
However, during the interviews, I knew I didn't need to worry. The Junior Achievement interviewers were passionate about helping us and wanted us to succeed, despite my feelings of nervousness.
After the positive and constructive feedback I received, my confidence grew significantly. It became clear that I didn't originally realize my true potential. With the help from the JA volunteers, I was able to unleash my true self.
Although many students are unsure of their future, Junior Achievement's purpose is designed to help guide young students through these times and through their education. They are committed to helping students achieve their goals, no matter what they may be.
After my JA experience, I realized I was capable of so much more. I believe all young students should be given a JA experience because it allows them to gain more skills - such as confidence - and gives reassurance that not knowing what your future holds is perfectly normal.
Haley Bracken is a Senior at Daniel Hand High School in Madison. Her comments were originally shared with attendees at Junior Achievement of Southwest New England's Partners in Achievement Breakfast in New Haven on November 20, 2019.