Follow the passion

Ask your counsellor

Dear Madam,

I am a student of class XII and would like to join MBBS next year. Like every child, I have had different ambitions at different times of my life. I developed a passion for cooking at the age of 13 but did not pursue it since it seemed an "unpredictable" career to my parents. Pushing that aside, I started to write novels, stories, features, etc. At the age of 15, I had published my own story book. Again, my parents branded that as another "unpredictable" career. At that point, I was aware that they wanted me to become a doctor which I had NO interest in. But eventually, I understood what their point was. They want me to be established in a profession that has some sort of stability. Once I am settled, I can pursue my ambitions. Truthfully, that seems like the right choice to make, but I am scared that I will never get to follow my dreams. What if life steers me another way? Will I lose my passion to be a writer if I do not do something about it now? I am an indecisive person, and I do not want that to get in the way of my future. Yes, I have chosen to study medicine but I do not know if that is the right decision for me. Right now, however, it seems like I have no other choice.
Shimona Lakshman

Dear Shimona

It’s great that you have such varied interests and that you have been able to take them to the next level. Remember, there are no right and wrong answers to your dilemmas. Whatever works for you is the right answer, because this is about your life and future. And whatever choice you make, you must believe that you have the ability to make it work for you. So make your choices with mindfulness, not out of compulsion and as a last resort. There is no right age to pursue one’s passions and dreams. You can do it at whatever stage is convenient for you. Some people do it early on, and some people do it later. And luckily for you, your passions are such that they can be pursued even alongside your chosen career. Haven’t you heard of a doctor who has published a novel, or written a book? Haven’t you heard of a doctor who’s cooking is to die for?
So make your choice, knowing that it is your choice, and believing that it will be right for you.

Dear Madam,

I am a PUC student with PCMC combination. I have failed in mathematics and have become hopeless since then. I have been put into science stream by force. My strengths in this field of study is Computer Science and English. And, my greatest weakness is mathematics. I would like to know whether supplementary exams are conducted this year or not. If it is conducted when should I apply and what are exact dates for the exam timetable. Also I would like you to tell me as to how should I prepare for the exams as this is the first time I have failed so miserably in exams. Will I be accepted in courses like BBM and BCom as I have not passed through annuals. I really do not want to enter the field of science anymore. Please guide me as to how should I mentally prepare myself for this exam and get the best out of this. What alternatives do I have if there is no supplementary exams?
A student
 
Dear Student

I am not in a position to answer any of your questions with respect to supplementary exams and the criteria for admission to any course, or the technique of study you should adopt. This information should be easily available from your college and your peers. All I would like to say is that failure in one exam is no reason to lose hope. It does not mean that you are a failure, nor does it mean that you will fail in that exam all the time. All of us are bound to face failure at some points in our life, and the sooner we learn to face it, learn from it and overcome it, the better it is for us.

I understand that you don’t have an interest in maths, but that does not mean you don’t have the capability to clear the exam. Remember, our mind has the capacity to grow and learn anything that we set our heart on. Intelligence is not fixed. It can grow based on the effort we put in, and the mind set we work with. If you put in an honest effort in maths, you will be able to overcome your mental block and learn, maybe even enjoy, the subject. Nothing is impossible.

Keep in mind the famous quote by John Wooden, “Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”

Dear Madam,

I have completed my class IX but with bad results. I just scored 88% and my parents expected more than 95%. In spite of good revision my score was low.  I learnt most of the syllabus very well. I had spent almost 4 hrs to learn each chapter during my preparation. But on the day before my exams I found that I had forgotten most of it and I had to spend 4hrs again to learn them well. But on the day of my exam I had forgotten many things again. This time, I was not able to finish revising all chapters before the day of my exam and more over, I could not remember much out of what I had studied. Most of my friends and my twin sister have good memory power unlike me. They don't consume 4hrs or more to finish each chapter. I don't understand why this is happening with me. Among all the subjects, Chemistry and Physics were horrible. I don't know how I'll face the ICSE this academic year and its vast portions. This year, all my score were below 90%. Please help me out so that I can do well in my board exams.
Vaibhavi

Dear Vaibhavi

My sense is that you are feeling too stressed and anxious about your marks and your performance, and that is affecting your concentration and memory. When you said you got bad results in your opening line, I expected your percentage to be much lower than the 88 you had mentioned. Please remember that your parents may have whatever expectations they have, and your twin sister may be getting much higher marks with spending less time, but you are a unique and valuable person with a unique and, maybe, different set of strengths and weaknesses. You need to recognize your strengths and achieve your own potential. This is not about living upto someone else’s expectations; it is about living up to your own expectations from yourself and achieving your own potential. For that you need to know what your strengths and weaknesses are and you need to understand that just because you may not get as many marks as your sister, you are not inferior to her. Marks are not the only benchmark for success, or worth, in life. Unfortunately, all to often, many of us believe they are. While marks may be important to open some doors for you in life, marks alone cannot guarantee success for anyone. So don’t let the fear of marks drive you around the bend. Don’t give them more power and control over you than they deserve. Just persevere, put in your best effort, learn well, and find your own motivation. Let that be your driver. And, remember to relax along the way.
All the best

Dear Madam,

I am an avid reader of this column and adore the manner in which you handle every dilemma. I am in a confused situation too. I am currently in my eighth semester engineering with an aggregate of 75%. With no placements in the near future through the campus, I am looking forward to higher studies. Meanwhile, I have discovered a passion for the mike and stage through the various debate competitions I won and by being MOC in a chain of events at college. I feel that I should follow my passion and take up journalism as my career. My fluency in writing and an excellent command over the language has given me immense confidence. My parents are not supportive as they feel that journalism involve a lot threats. Shifting streams at the postgraduate level may sound bizarre, but I am ready for the challenge. Can you advice me on this aspect and suggest an excellent university in India and favorably in Karnataka where I can pursue my passion, if it is possible?
A Reader

Dear Reader

I am glad you find this column useful. It is always encouraging to get feedback, and if it is positive then that is even better! You are right in saying that you should explore your passion and do what you enjoy. You may want to understand what the alternative career entails by talking to people in that profession. Also understand your parents’ fears and apprehensions about it. Ultimately your parents will want you to do something that will make you happy. If you are able to communicate that to them, they will be satisfied.You could look at using your engineering education to add value to the branch of journalism that you are wanting to pursue. In any case, no education goes waste, even if you are not actively pursuing that field. Learning anything can only be helpful.Before taking the plunge map your strengths and weaknesses onto your career options, and see which one gives you more of an advantage. List out the plusses and minuses of both choices and see which one weighs in stronger. Ultimately do what will make you feel happier and more satisfied, but do it for the right reasons.

Maullika Sharma is an MBA graduate with a specialistion in counselling.She works with adolescents and parents. Send in your queries to Ask Your Counsellor,  Education,
Deccan Herald, 75, MG Road, Bangalore-560001 or email as at dheducation @deccanherald.co.in

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