When I was in high school, a lot of the advice was the same cheesy clichés. ‘Find something you’re passionate about’, and ‘uni is a safe bet’ were circulated around my school more than a juicy piece of gossip and while the people who said them meant well, there are other things I wish I’d been told before I’d been pushed into the real world.

1. It’s okay to go down different pathways (no, really)

When people said this to me in high school, they meant different uni pathways–I didn’t hear a thing about anything else like apprenticeships, traineeships, travelling or gap years.

I wish someone had told me in high school that there’s other pathways than your traditional uni route; that ‘the world is your oyster’, wasn’t just a cheesy cliché and that I legitimately had a whole world of options ahead of me. When you’re in high school, it’s easy to let yourself get boxed into what’s expected of you but I wish I’d realised that nothing was stopping me from finding my own path–whether that be through an apprenticeship or traineeship or whatever else I bloody wanted.

2. Your parents came from a different world

Our parents just want the best for us but often their ideas of success or how to land a job are too outdated. They’re from a time where careers were linear, university degrees weren’t as common and once you got a job, you worked your way to the top. While some things still hold true the reality is we’re facing a work force that is constantly changing and just because something worked for your mum and dad doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.

3. You don’t have to just stick with it

There were subjects I never should have picked and ended up flunking in high school but the entire time I was told to just stick it out. The thing is, you don’t have to stick with something that just isn’t working for you no matter how hard you try. This goes for everything–friendships, subjects and career pathways. There’s nothing wrong with changing your mind and trying something in a different way–you have to go with what works for you and no one else.

4. Uni isn’t the only way to success

I was fed this idea that the only way to be successful was to head to uni and while a tonne of uni graduates do end up being successful, that’s only one way to the end goal. My school never told me the value of apprenticeships or traineeships. I know my teachers meant well, and wanted to see me pick a pathway that seemed the most straightforward way to success, but there’s plenty of other options that aren’t talked about nearly enough.

5. You don’t always have to love your job, but you do need to love what you do

In high school everyone tells you to find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. Here’s the truth–sometimes you’re just going to want to lay in bed all day and forget about all the responsibilities waiting for you when you get into work and that’s okay. No one loves every aspect of their job, 100% of the time. What you need to love is the bigger picture–don’t force yourself to work behind a desk if all you really want is to be outside. Don’t force yourself to update documents and fill out spreadsheets if you’d rather be able to make something that you can look at when you finish for the day.