Episode 37: Going to Work
What sorts of careers do the students of self-directed democratic education have? How do they stand out in a competitive job market without grades or transcripts? These are the questions we tackle on episode 37 of the Alpine Valley School podcast. With the help of a panel of Alpine Valley School graduates, host Marc Gallivan explores the career options available to Sudbury school students as well as the outstanding contributions our graduates make once they enter the workforce.
Also available on YouTube.
Read more about the lives of alumni directly from Sudbury Valley School (the original)
Watch a video interview with a group of Alpine Valley School graduates and parents
Hear more Frequently Asked Questions answered by a panel of AVS graduates
Read a blog post about how our graduates go out into the workforce: An Alpine Valley School Resume
Watch a TED Talk about how happiness makes everything in our work lives better
Get in touch with the show! Send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Marc Gallivan: (00:00)
Hello and welcome to the Alpine Valley School podcast. I'm your host Marc Gallivan. Today on the show we are going to be talking about going to work, specifically about what kind of careers the graduates of self directed democratic education can look forward to having. Show notes for this episode are available at Alpine Valley school.com/podcast/ep37 for episode 37. Before we get into the discussion, I want to give a quick plug for Amazon smile. Amazon Prime Day is coming up soon and while you're out scoring amazing deals, you can also be supporting Alpine Valley School with no additional cost to you. Simply use smile.amazon.com when you do your shopping and we receive a donation in the process. You can help us out and get an awesome air fryer at the same time. Parents sometimes express concerns to me that their student will not go on to a successful career after graduating from an alternative school like ours. I think the idea is that if they aren't learning the same standard curriculum, they won't be prepared to enter the workforce in the same way as their peers. We've seen the complete opposite of this effect, but I wanted to ask this question to a group of our graduates and see how they think about that. Today I'm going to share their answers with you and here's what they had to say.
Jaime McNear: (01:20)
You can get into any industry if you're tenacious enough, like a lot of people say that you have to go to college or whatever, but there's more than one path to Mecca and that's just sort of my belief about everything in my life, which I think is kind of thanks to AVS . Is that like, I never thought that I would be a bartender for example, because people always talked about stuff like bartending school, but I just went to a local restaurant and like talked to the owner and was like, Hey, I'm really interested in learning this craft that I didn't know before and I want to know it because it enables me to do theater work because the bartending schedule works out with me being at the theater all the time. And you know, it enables me to do my passion projects. How I balance my life is I, you know, pick a fun, easy going place to work. And then I work on, you know, my passions as like my projects. You know, it's, I can do both of these things that I really love doing simply because I was willing to ask for the opportunity to do it.
Andreas Suter: (02:14)
I think we can do anything we want to. We grew up not really being pigeonholed into particular classes. And then we were allowed to learn what we wanted to and if there was something that a staff member at AVS couldn't teach us, they brought in outside help.
Brandon Murphy: (02:31)
Yeah. I think any career an AVS graduate goes into is - that career is the job that they have chosen to do. And I think that carries a lot of weight with AVS students. And then you grow up in an environment where we're not forced to choose anything. When you choose to do something, it's because it's something you're passionate about and it's something you care a lot for. And I think those students, my fellow graduates that I'm friends with, they're all doing something that they love because they chose to do it. They chose that determination to get the job that they want and they're all happy for it.
Josh Mann: (03:15)
I think that an AVS graduate can expect to have any career that they want. It's just that in the AVS environment, it's, um, it's on them to make that happen. Right? So if they have the drive and the motivation and the initiative, you know, if they want to learn how to be a doctor, then all it's going to take is to find somebody, whether it's inside the school or outside the school, who can teach them how to get on that path. Right. And eventually they will get there. Uh, so I don't think there's any limitations on what you could do, uh, as an AVS graduate. It's just that you have to have that drive and motivation to make it happen for yourself.
Ethan Welshon: (03:55)
Uh, I think that really depends mostly on the person and their interests. For Myself, I've had careers or at least jobs in, uh, everything from maritime work as a ships engineer to, I was a technician for a geophysics company in Nevada and really everything, everything that I've wanted to try, I've done pretty well in and then kind of had my fill and left. I think really, as far as career goes, it depends on the individual much more than their education.
Bronwen Abbatista: (04:25)
I think the best way to get a feel for it is to look at what our grads have done, which is pretty varied. And I think we have seen graduates be successful in all different types of industries, um, at all different levels. And, um, I'd say that a continuous thread that you can find from students who have gone on from AVS is the, the drive and, um, self motivation to follow these, these threads that they find, uh, early on in their education because they're allowed to, you know, pursue the things that they're interested in and actually given the time to sort of sit with themselves and develop self awareness and discover what those things actually are.
Aubrey Suter: (05:20)
I would say that people who graduate from this type of school go into all different types of fields when graduates from this school enter a career that do so very deliberately, I would say generally once they kind of find something that they, they are passionate about and that they can make a living at, which sometimes takes a little bit of time, they're very, um, focused on improvement, they're very unwilling to settle. And they're very, they're very successful at making things better wherever they are.
Vanessa Reich: (05:52)
It's difficult because when you're five, you might not realize that you want to be a, for example. And if you want to be a scientist, you have to have a lot of years of experience. What's cool about AVS is that you're not limited to anything. I think even if you are like 17, you realize, wow, I'm really interested in science and I might want to have a career in this. You kind of just accept that you might have to work a little harder than other people, but that's totally fine. You can take your time to get where you want to go. Like AVS really shaped who I am today in so many ways. Even in just the four years I was there. And it's like, it's kind of like, of course I'd be an entrepreneur, you know, of course I would own my own business.
Amy James: (06:36)
I think that one of the, the true gifts of the time that students get to spend at Alpine Valley School is getting to know themselves and getting to kind of engage with their own curiosity. Um, and not have that be stifled. You know, when I was in sixth grade, I got in trouble for reading a book under my desk. I like had it in my lap, you know, we were getting a lecture on something and I was reading this book and um, and then as soon as they had us and I was always a reader, you know, I loved reading and then as soon as they had us, uh, have to fill out this log and have our parents sign it that we had done the amount of reading we were supposed to do. I stopped reading and learned how to forge my mom's signature. But I think that that, knowing oneself and knowing what one wants out of life really can help people to be more successful in choosing careers that make them happy, you know? And so I think that because we have that time and that space for curiosity, we have a better shot anyway, um, at, at taking steps toward building a career that makes us truly happy.
Marc Gallivan: (07:56)
That does it for our episode about going to work. If you're interested in hearing more. We did another full episode about going on to college after school that you can find a link for in the show notes for this episode. You can find those show notes at alpinevalleyschool.com/podcast/ep37 for episode 37 as always, thanks for listening. I'm your host, Marc Gallivan. This is the Alpine Valley School podcast, and we'll be back again soon with more stories of real learning for real life.