Advocacy Resources Bridges Blog Independent Living Resources Series: Next Steps November 2021

Next Steps November: Navigating (Your Future)

It’s November, and the leaves aren’t the only things changing. We settled into the school routine, and the holiday season is gearing up. November is a great time to create bridges between our current realities and the futures we seek, so these are the topics we will explore this month:

  • November 2: Navigating (Your Future)
  • November 9: Networking
  • November 16: Niche (Finding Yours)
  • November 23: Note-taking
  • November 30: Nurturing (Yourself)

In this first installment of our “Next Steps November” series, we begin with mapping the journey: Navigating Your Future.

Where Are You Now?

It’s almost impossible to get to your destination if you don’t know where you are right now. From Google Maps to IEP baselines, we are always asked where we are right now.

Navigating your future is no different; you need to determine where you are right now.

  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your interests?
  • What intrigues you?
  • Is there anything you’d like to explore but feel that you cannot?
  • Do you want to learn about different things but don’t know where to start?

Please reach out to others, including the Free Bridges Helpdesk, to dig into these questions and your answers. By asking and answering these questions, you are defining your starting point.

Where Do You Want To Be?

Every journey needs both a starting and an ending point. However, while the starting point is usually very specific and concrete, the ending point does not need to be so. In addition, the ending point might be different at different times of your life. As you think about your ending point, please consider:

The time frame:

  • What are your goals for the next year?
  • The next five years?
  • The next forty years?

What skills do you want to have, and how will you get them?

  • Will you need vocational/technical training?
  • Will you need a college degree? A post-graduate degree?
  • Will you need to get extra disability-related training (for blindness/low vision, other disabilities)?
  • Are there other skills you want to get?

What kind of employment do you want?

  • Working for a governmental agency or a private business?
  • Owning your own business?
  • At an office?
  • Working directly with the public?
  • Working from home?
  • Hybrid?

In what employment field are you interested?

  • Business, such as at a bank, in an insurance office, accounting?
  • Technology, coding, cyber security, customer service?
  • Medicine, law, retail, something else?

Where do you want to live?

  • City? Suburban? Rural?
  • In Maryland? On the East Coast? In another country?
  • In an apartment? A home you own?
  • With a roommate? Alone?

Take It One Step at a Time

It can be overwhelming to think about all of these things. Please remember, you don’t need to have all of the answers, and know that your answers can (and maybe should) change.

Nevertheless, asking yourself these questions will help you navigate each next step in your life. Please know that the Free Bridges Helpdesk is ready and eager to support you every step of the way.

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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