Lily's Story with The Paradox of Choice

Lily's Story with The Paradox of Choice

We met Lily in December of her Yr 12. She was confident that she would achieve a high ATAR, her subjects were a mix of humanities, sciences and math - she was equally competent in them all. Lily was the good student with an array of options who needed help with her decision making process. She needed guidance about tertiary study options and importantly the career outcomes they potentially lead to.

The dreaded question of ‘what are you going to do after year 12' can lead seemingly high achievers feeling overwhelmed - we introduce them to the concept of the paradox of choice. It is not uncommon that when faced with too many options we can feel slightly paralysed this is known as the paradox of choice. Too many choices and you can’t make one.

It had been suggested to Lily that she consider Law or Medicine, she certainly would have the marks so why wouldn’t you go down one of these prestigious paths? One problem - at this stage of her life she was not all that interested in becoming a doctor. Law she understood could lead to other things but where would that be for her exactly? And weren’t there more law graduates than entry level positions?

A career is an evolving pathway throughout your life. It includes both your formal and informal learning and your paid and non-paid work and that is important to Lily’s story. We needed to help Lily transform her schooling academic success into career success.

We went through her broad areas of interests and narrowed it down into areas of industry and looked at all the different careers that might come off that area of interest. This is all quite straightforward but allowing the time to have a deeper conversation helped us shift her thinking. Together we worked out what her foundation of knowledge should be and all the various pathways this could lead to - including medicine and law at a later stage if that was still a consideration for her.


Lily's Story with The Paradox of Choice

The outcome of this process was the confirmation that Lily was a scientific thinker, she likes asking questions and has a curious mindset. This lead to a Science related degree but it was one she had not been aware of at one of Australia’s leading universities that included units that also resonated with her around entrepreneurship, leadership skills, collaboration. The most attractive aspect for Lily was an option to major in Psychology as this came up as something she was interested in. Her foundation of knowledge will be the understanding of human behaviour and as adults we know that this leads to and impacts many career paths.

The course was highly competitive and a condition of entry was a challenging interview. We supported Lily through the process and helped her recognise that her minimal work experience and her informal learning experiences also had relevance and could be used in the interview to highlight the skills she had to offer. We also helped her craft a career objective - why did she want this opportunity? what did mean to her? Whilst Lily’s academic success may have got her the interview being able to effectively communicate her skills and intentions is what possibly secured her position in the course and ultimately this is what will secure jobs! The power of the Lily’s story will be in 4 and 10 years time when the benefit of hindsight will shine the light on what outcomes this well suited opportunity lead to in her evolving career.

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