Moving up a year, and learning - about yourself!

If you’ve just moved up a year, congratulations to all you new Year 8s, 9s, 10s, and 11s! Here’s why now’s a great time to learn a few things about yourself.

Moving up means a new start: new lessons, new teachers, new experiences. But it’s also a good time to think back over what you are learning – not just in terms of your subjects, but what you are learning about YOU.

Learning about you - what are you like?

It’s fair to say that we all learn about ourselves through our life experiences and through dealing with other people. We learn about ourselves by being with friends at school and seeing how other people react to us. School also really helps us to find out what we are good at.

The first and most important step you can take as you journey towards your future career, or careers, is to know yourself. That is, to know your skills and qualities:

  • Skills – what you’re good at (for example, using computers, dealing with people, solving problems, writing essays, drawing diagrams, cooking, playing football or looking after children or animals)
  • Qualities – what you’re like as a person (for example, being patient, hard-working, caring, brave, reliable, strong, imaginative, creative or ambitious).

Why do you need to know this?

It’s important to know these things, for yourself as a person, and especially for making decisions which affect you. For example, in Year 9 and Year 11 you need to make decisions about your future. Knowing these things about yourself will really help you to make the right choices.

Knowing yourself will also help you when you come to look for jobs. It makes it easier to describe yourself on your CV if you know what your skills and qualities are, and you can sell yourself to employers better. You’ll also feel more confident when you go to interviews, knowing that you can talk about things meaningfully.

How can you find out more about yourself?

  • Ask your family and friends – what kind of person do they say you are?
  • Get feedback from your teachers – they can tell you what you do well
  • See how employers think you’ve done on work experience
  • Look at your subject results and think back over your school work
  • Think about what you do when you’re not at school – what does that tell you about yourself?
  • What do you really care about? 
  • What makes you really happy, or angry, in the world?   

If you think through all of these things, you can start to work out what your skills and qualities are. Everyone has skills and qualities that are of value to society and to employers – many students just don’t know what they are yet, so make sure you do!