Know your enemy and know yourself and you will not be defeated in a hundred battles. -- Sun Tzu The Art of War
Attention sixteen year olds. I have some horrifying news for you. The real word will arrive for you very shortly whether you want it to or not. And it won't give the slightest of fucks how good you want to feel about your life or career prospects.
Your school councilors won't help you in the least. The only thing they are going to tell you is, go to college. Go to college. GO TO COLLEGE. Here's the thing, a school's funding is largely dependent upon how many kids it sends to college. When it comes to your future, your school has a clear conflict of interest.
In Heaven and on Earth you are all that you can rely on right now.
So how do you get to know yourself if you are a young post-millennial? Everyone lies to you constantly about how great you are at everything.
Simple, if you are sixteen years old, take the ASVAB.
Okay cynical, Gen-Xer you say to Cataline. How does the ASVAB help with any of this?
The first portion is the AFQT. If you score a 49 or below. Do. Not. Go. To. College.
The AFQT's dirty little secret is that it is nothing but an IQ test. If you go to college with a QT score that is below a 50, one of two things will happen to you. You will either drop out before Christmas or you will graduate with an absolutely worthless degree in the liberal arts.
When Cataline went to college in the glorious days of the Reagan Presidency. You couldn't get a student loan unless A. you could prove that you had lived on your own for four years or B. you were genuinely financially desperate.
Then Bill Clinton became president and he decided that everyone should be a college graduate. Consequently anyone could get a student loan. College programs always expand to absorb funding available. Consequently they came up with academic tracks for illiterates. Which is what any degree with the word STUDIES in it's name is.
When everyone is a college graduate. No one is.
If your AFQT is 50 and above. Congratulations you might have some reason to go to college, provided you are going in to one of the STEM fields.
So what about me? Asks Young Mister 49 and below. That is the really good part about the ASVAB. It will very reliably tell you what your vocational talents are. It's why your school probably doesn't want you to take it. It could easily get you off the college track.
So how do I take it?
Simple contact your local recruiter. He will set you up for testing at your local METT Site. Go with the Marine Corps. Their composite scores are the easiest to understand. Yes, he is going to ask you some questions to find out if you are basically qualified to serve once you turn seventeen. Expect a very brief sell on the Marine Corps and then he will be done with you until you turn seventeen.
Let him make his pitch then. It's a fair exchange of time. Subnote; if you score below an AFQT of 31 you are unqualified for military service. Don't bother trying to retake it if you score below a 29. It's an IQ test as I said. The brains you got, is the brains you got. However you will still have a good idea of what your vocational gifts are.
The world has changed and not for the better. Every company in the America is looking for ways to tighten the bottom line. Which is another way of saying cut your job and benefits. Be loyal, do a good job and wait to get noticed will get you absolutely nowhere today. You need to know what your actual strengths are. Not the good feelz ones you wish you had.
Nobody loves you like you do. Bear it in mind.