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How to choose a right career- The right choice!

It is a dilemma that plagues thousands of class 10 students every year. Knowledge looks at the reasons why students choose their stream – arts, science or commerce, to help those who are still confused this year

One might think that gone are the days when choices were limited, and only the students considered as nerds chose science after class 10 and those who were interested in numbers chose commerce. Well, even though we might have come a long way from such generalisations, even today some students, who are confused about which stream to choose, think on these bases to make the final decision.

“You see, there are a few students who are extremely sure of what they want to do, so they are already set in their choice. I mean that medicine, engineering and chartered accountancy are the kind of professions where the streams are obvious. But there are also students who know that they want to study economics or psychology or history and take up arts. There are others who are sure they want to take up microbiology as a major, so they opt for science. Basically, times are changing, and the number of students who are confused is reducing,” says counsellor Chhaya Sheth.

As far as the confusion goes, Sheth believes one of the reasons is the rigid system of education, which can’t be helped. “I mean that at 16, these students are too young to make a decision for their entire life. Often, they are stuck with what they choose, and don’t get another chance to switch. I’ve known of an architect who wanted to become a painter, but chose architecture thinking it was a more stable profession. He has a good job, but he yearns to paint. He has several financial responsibilities now, so is afraid to take the risk to make a switch now,” she says.

This, however, is now overcome in some ways by the system since there are ways to switch fields when studying. Like science students can at least take up fields in commerce and arts after class 12, if they want to. Also, many postgraduate courses have only graduation as the eligibility, any field will do, for example, MBA. “Apart from MBA, there are many other programmes. Every year, I have to explain this to several students and their parents. They need to understand that often, the stream undergraduate degree does not have any bearing on the admission to the programme,” Sheth explains.

Students on the other hand say that they are confused because they are bombarded with a lot of information, and most of the people giving them advice are considering only the earning potential, missing out on their interests and abilities. “My father and uncles are all chartered accountants, so they wanted me also to take up commerce so that I could be a chartered accountant like them. They all tried to blackmail emotionally me in different ways, at different times because they knew I was interested in taking up science. One of my uncles also told me how he had secured a rank at one of the CA exams, and that had brought him lots of fame and respect. Thankfully, I stood my ground and opted for science because I wanted to be a physicist,” says SYBSc student Varun Sharma. He says that students who are sure if their choices should stand their ground and give their parents and family members some time to come around and accept their choices. “I waited until my father understood, but I also made it certain that I won’t take up something that I’m not interested in.”

For arts student Minal Patel, it was a case of too much advice. “Everyone I knew was giving me advice on what to study and why. I’m sure they all meant well, but the problem was that I didn’t ask for the advice. Finally, I had a word with my school counsellor and teacher, and decided to take up arts, since we figured my interests lie in the humanities. I don’t know quite yet what sort of career I’m going to take up in the future, but I’m happy that I was able to make my choice well and that I’m in the correct path,” she says.

Not all students, however, are so lucky. “I knew I wanted to study literature so I should’ve taken up arts. I, however, foolishly followed my school friends into commerce, and got stuck in the stream. I had a chance after class 12 to take up arts, but I didn’t get the college that I want, so I went along with BCom. I’m fine in terms of the course I want to do later, since I want to do something in film making. But I am quite sure I would have enjoyed the process of studying literature much more. I regret that decision of mine, and so every chance I get to talk to other students who might be making the same mistake, I ask them to think twice about the reasons to why they are making that decision.”

For those who are confused because they have two or more options in their minds, teachers suggest they utilise the break after their class 10 board exams to research the options thoroughly and try making the best possible decision after that. “I would say that students have information technology to rely on so they can read up on other people’s experiences and also pose questions to students currently studying. They can get in touch with young professionals who have just started working and ask them how their degree helped and which degree would be best suited for what they want to do. Young professionals are always excited to answer such questions and help out their ‘juniors’ as much as they can,” says Vivek Malhotra who teaches marketing to BMS students.

Adding to Malhotra’s suggestions, Rupali Khanna, who teaches finance modules at several colleges, says that students should not only look at the end result in terms of their careers, but also look at their interest in studying. “You see, the way our education system runs, most students will be able to study for any programme and pass as well. What they need hand holding with at this stage is for understanding where their interests lie and how they can use that to the utmost benefit while picking a stream and subsequently choosing a career, so that they enjoy what they are doing,” she says.

Effectively, the suggestions lead to enjoying the process of studying for the undergraduate degree, no matter what the stream. Some students will have to study hard for common entrance exams to courses like engineering, medicine and architecture, while others may have to work harder later, but the choice after class 10 should ideally depend on interests as well as aptitude.

Sheth puts in her final word. “Unfortunately, the decision has to be made by the students in terms on choosing one stream. I would say that the students start using the power of the internet to look up what each stream is about and what it teaches ahead. At least that would provide a background to base the initial decision on. I also would suggest that parents break old myths – like for studying accounts you need to be good at math, or that if a student chooses science, the only two options are engineering and medicine! This would help a lot in avoiding a large number of ‘strayed’ decisions. I once had a mother who thought that there are no ‘real’ careers a student can have after choosing commerce. She was hell bent on her son taking up science so he did, after class 10. Two years he struggled, even attended classes to take the IIT JEE. Finally he found the courage to confide in the parents that he is not interested in engineering, or even science at all and wanted to switch to BCom. Even after two years, the mother still insisted there were no good careers in commerce. Thankfully, the son stuck to his decision and is a successful chartered accountant and financial planner today,” she concludes.

Original: http://www.freepressjournal.in/education/how-to-choose-a-right-career-the-right-choice/1041399
By: FPJ Bureau
Posted: March 27, 2017, 9:29 am