‘’We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can always build our youth for the future.’’  - Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Career choice in high school was never about what the student wanted or was good at. It was all about what the teachers or the parents thought. This case was no different with Karoti Girls Secondary School alumni.Even after they dispersed from high school to pursue different courses and jobs, a large number were still haunted by the career choices they made back then. Most of them had taken long breaks from school to figure out exactly what they were passionate about. For others it led them to change areas of study in the middle of the school year, which was a huge waste of time and resources.

Right from their first reunion meeting, giving back to their former school was on the top of the agenda for the more than 50 alumni. They agreed to organize for a career day with the aim of guiding and mentoring their schoolmates on how to make informed career choices. They settled on Saturday 15th  July 2017 under the theme ‘Help a Girl Secure Her Career’, a topic which they felt would really aid the students in career choices and avoid some of the mistakes the alumni had made while at school.

Karoti Girls Secondary School is located in Mwea, Kirinyaga County and has a population of 1000 students. In the alumni meetings held prior to the mentorship, it was decided that the career day would focus only on the form two students. This is because they were just about to choose their subjects and they would need a lot of career advice. In preparation for the career day, the alumni realized that they were not very well equipped to speak about careers, and so they partnered with Careerpedia. They therefore purchased 163 Careepedia workbooks and two sets of encyclopedias for the school. These resource materials would be used by the students as reference career materials in making the right career choices, and helping them to discover their passions and abilities early enough so that they could make informed decisions about their future. The alumni were very much convinced that it take one step to make a huge difference in other people’s lives.

‘’Getting the most out of life isn’t about how much you keep for yourself but how much you pour into others.’’  David Stoddard

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During the mentorship session, the alumni members spoke about their careers and their experiences in the workplace. It was a very interactive session enabling the students to open up and share their fears and misconceptions about life.The biggest lesson for the students was that choosing a career was more than a ‘gut feeling’ and good grades. Most of the students had no idea about the careers they wanted to pursue after school, and the ones that did, had very little knowledge. By using the workbooks the students realized that natural abilities played a huge role in getting the right career. The detailed list of questions and aptitude tests in the workbook helped the students to not only discover their talents but also gave them several options of what their future looks like. The encyclopedias helped them to learn more about their chosen careers while also letting them discover some unusual ones they may never have imagined.

Secondary school is a huge defining moment in everyone’s life, and one wrong move can have disastrous consequences for the future. While students these days have so many career choices at their disposal, it also makes it very easy to make mistakes without the right guidance. This is where the alumni come in. Becoming an alumni mentor enables them to provide guidance, and the students to gain insight and understanding of their future chosen career path. With the right resources, an alumni mentor can become one of the most important and positive influencers in a student’s life.

This is what the alumni had to say after the career day:

‘’In my brief interaction with Careerpedia, I am fully convinced that this is a resource that the alumni of EVERY SCHOOL should make sure the school has. With the detailed approach it takes in guiding students in making the best career choices, while also showing them all the options available to them…I don’t know how far some of us would be now if we had Careerpedia back when we were in high school.’’

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