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Job shadowing for high school students

Shadowing a professional — such as a physical

Shadowing a professional — such as a physical therapist, above — at work can give your high school teenager a preview of what those jobs are like in reality. Credit: iStock

If your teenager is a high school junior or senior and has no clear career calling yet, you can help her figure it out before she heads to college.

First, ask your teen to draw up a list of jobs that interest her. Then, tap into your circle of family, friends and contacts (nurses, programmers, salespersons, etc.) and ask if she can shadow them for a day or two over her school breaks. This way, your teen can explore different jobs and get a preview of what those jobs are like in reality before spending years and a fortune studying a major that may not be her cup of tea.

Jillian Serigano, a senior at Half Hollow Hills East High School in Dix Hills, said an anatomy and physiology class spurred her interest in physical therapy, and her teacher, a part-time physical therapist, "told me it would be a good thing to look into.” Also encouraged by her parents, this summer she shadowed Darren Weidenman, physical therapist and owner of East Coast Physical Therapy in Melville, where her dad had been a patient. She said her mom “wanted me to make sure it was something I wanted to do before I went to school for it.”

Serigano, who is also interested in exercise sciences and nutrition, said, “It was really helpful because I was able to see firsthand what a physical therapist does.  .?.?.  I got to meet some of his patients and see exactly how he treats their injuries. Darren would explain what he was doing, and he taught me some things that I could never learn in a classroom.”

“The firsthand experience will definitely help me determine my future career path,” Serigano said.

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