Paths That Prepare You for Your Future

By Leah Barton

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Whether you go to college, seek employment, or learn a trade, you are developing an attribute that is essential for building the kingdom of God.

winding path

Illustration by Josh Talbot

I don’t think it’s any 14-year-old girl’s dream to find herself in a dusty barn, hoisting a rusty shovel, cleaning out a smelly horse stall. But there I was after school every day until I was old enough to get a different job.

It definitely wasn’t my ideal situation to work during high school, but I understood then that if I ever wanted a job I actually liked—one that didn’t involve cleaning up after animals—I needed college, and to go to college,

I needed money. I knew that for me, education was the right step toward a (hopefully) fulfilling career.

The nice thing is that the path I chose is just one of several that can help you learn to work and provide for your own needs. This is called becoming temporally and spiritually self-reliant. As you consider your options, try to choose the path that you feel will best prepare you.

These stories are from people who were your age just a few years ago. By following the examples of these young adults, you can find your own path toward successful self-reliance.

Consider the Needs Around You

man

By Oudom Piseth, Cambodia

In order to achieve my goals, I always tell myself that working hard is very important, but another way to excel is by working smart. After my mission in England, I returned to Cambodia and looked at the job market. I looked at things like the length of training to get each job and the cost of training.

I found that the training program to be a clothing merchandiser is short but challenging, and not many people were doing it. I saw it was a good opportunity and decided to take it. I have now finished the program and am working as a merchandiser for a clothing company.

Finding the right career can be very hard, but I have the Savior to help me and lift me up.

Use Education to Open Doors

man

By Iolanda Teixeira, Cape Verde, Africa

My mom always encouraged me with the phrase, “Education is the key to success.” I wanted a better future for myself and especially for my family, and to do this, I needed to continue my education. Without the money to go to college at the time, I applied for a scholarship to attend a vocational school to study computer systems and maintenance.

Throughout my studies I faced various challenges, but this did not stop me from moving forward with eyes fixed on better days. Prayer helped me a lot; I always seek counsel from the Lord. I have always been committed to my studies, and today I remain committed to my work, giving my best as a computer technician and a marketing assistant.

Work Now Toward the Future You Want

By Ann-Sophie and Lawrence Cavin, Scotland, UK

woman

Ann-Sophie: I always wanted to study at a university, but my plans about what to study changed a lot during my teenage years. After finishing high school, I volunteered in a hospital for six months. Since then I loved the idea of being a nurse, but I didn’t think I would be able to do it.

In my ward’s self-reliance class, we were asked to pick a job we would like to have even though we might not have the qualifications. I prayed about what to do, and nursing kept coming into my mind. I decided to follow the promptings of the Lord.

Pursuing this path hasn’t been easy. To get started, I researched the nursing program and what it would take for me to study. I talked to people who went through a similar process. The first time I applied to the nursing program, I was put on the waiting list. But I didn’t give up; I applied again and eventually got in. Sometimes you have to be patient and trust in the Lord as He has His own plan for you.

man

Lawrence: When I was younger, I set a goal to be the best I could be no matter what subject I studied or what job I had. I always tried to learn and improve to give myself the best chance for success.

I currently work as a manager for a clothing company, but I want to join the police force. In Scotland, you have to live in the country for three consecutive years before applying for the police. Since I was outside the country for two years serving a mission, I have to wait a few more months before joining.

Although this has been a big roadblock, I haven’t given up. I have a good job to provide for my family, and I have worked hard to make sure I get a good reference for future jobs.

Like these young adults, you will find that various paths can prepare you to take care of yourself and your future family. With that goal in mind, you can plan for success. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “Let us do the best we can and cultivate a reputation for excellence in all that we do. Let us set our minds and bodies to the glorious opportunity for work that each new day presents” (“Two Principles for Any Economy,” Oct. 2009 general conference). As you focus now on learning and working, you will create habits that will help you feel more confident about the future.

The author lives in Utah, USA.