Over 1,100 8th grade students from 41 area schools attended the 11th Annual 8th Grade Career & College EXPO. Students browsed career booths and participated in the “Road Trip.” The Road Trip, sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP, simulated the game of Life® as students made life-changing financial decisions. Members of the Paradigm Shift team created the “real life world” atmosphere.
As students entered the room, they were given a handout with various “life experiences” to complete. Tables were set up around the room with life options—doctor, bank, housing, utilities, cellular network, Internet, the mall, exotic animal shelter, subscription (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Xbox), mechanic, car dealership, insurance, family, travel agent, grocery store, and dance party. Students visited each table and made decisions about the level of service they wanted from each station. Students had to beware of the “Dooms Day Guy,” a roaming character who provided unsuspecting victims with “life circumstances” that changed the amount of money at their disposal (i.e. car broke down).
After completing their handouts, students added the amounts listed to determine how much their monthly income needed to be to accommodate their projected wants, needs and expenditures. Next came a “reality check.”
“There are three things I’ve learned,” said Jerrod Murr of Paradigm Shift. “Number one: Life is expensive (typically more expensive than we think as students). Number two: Life is unpredictable. I never know what is going to happen so I should create as many options as possible. Education doesn’t equal success but education equals opportunity. Number three: Life is full of decisions. Decide now to pursue education. Decide now to investigate careers.”
Murr explained that having a plan early is a great way to get ahead of the game. Life is never as we expect it to be. Students left their journey with a new outlook on what “adulting” is like.