Last week, I was at Mount Boucherie Senior Secondary school participating as a community member on one of their MAP panels.
MAP refers to My Action Plan for Career/Life. Every student in Grade 12 must complete and present their MAP in order to graduate.
I sat with two other people, a teacher from the school and another community person, and we listened to students pitch us their MAP.
Each MAP consists of four distinct areas represented by the four questions: Who am I, Where am I going, What have I done and learned, and How am I going to get there?
It was interesting to see how different each student presented these key life questions, especially at a time when they are transitioning from high school to either work or post-secondary education.
For the question of Who am I, students were expected to have a strong grasp of who they are, including to be able to clearly articulate their personality strengths and interests.
This self-reflection led into the Where am I going part of the presentation.
In this part they were expected to present two plans: Plan A and Plan B.
These plans were essentially what they were going to do beyond high school.
Some students had very clear plans; others, you could tell, didn’t do the research they needed to move forward.
I was amazed by the number of students who included attending Okanagan College as a Plan A but didn’t have the complete program information I would consider important for such a decision.
The other part about these plans is that some students didn’t really understand the costs associated with getting a college credential.
Interestingly, it was the students who had access to Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP) who seemed to know more about what to expect in regard to cost.
Those who didn’t have any financial support seemed to know less.
Plan B often included another college program or finding employment to save money for college or university.
There was not one student who presented their MAP who was foregoing post-secondary and considering employment from the get-go.
The What I have done and learned segment of the presentations was interesting.
Many of these students held part-time jobs and outside of sports, their extracurricular activities seemed to be dominated by work.
There were a few who did some volunteer work—one young man in particular spent a summer building a school in a developing country.
In the How am I going to get there portion, students had to present a plan for healthy living which included how they would stay fit, information on their diet, stress management and building healthy relationships.
Many students presented information on the Canada Food Guide, which, to no surprise, indicated they needed to eat more fruits and vegetables.
As for exercise, with the exception of one student who was into dancing, the rest didn’t show any indication that they understood the importance of a weekly exercise routine and only cited once-in-a-while activities such as walking their dog or skate boarding. I guess this is something that comes with age.
The experience in itself was interesting to see how students are managing this important crossroad. In the future I hope to see some of these students at our Okanagan College graduation ceremony.
Jane Muskens is the registrar at Okanagan College.