Match your interest with skills

Dear Sir,

I am a second PU science student with PCME combination. I have been doing well in my academics so far and I am consistent in my performance with a minimum aggregate of percentage. I am planning to do engineering after PUC. But I am unaware of the other options that are available to me. Guide me with the  available opportunities apart from engineering and the courses that I can pursue in my future.
Shashank Krishna Prasad

Dear Shashank,
There are literally hundreds of alternatives for you. Since you have taken up PCME, other than medicine and life sciences, all careers are open to you, whether they are based on science, commerce or arts.  It will help if you start exploring all possible options (not just the science or engineering related ones), and match your interest and skills to which career you would be best in.  If despite your best effort you cannot narrow down, seek the help of your elders and teachers, or go for an aptitude test, which is conducted by various institutions in Bangalore and other cities, notably Banjara Academy, Parivarthan, Promise Foundation, Young Buzz, Ms Phyllis Farias, etc.

Dear Sir,
My Daughter is in 10th Std under ICSE Board. She always scores 90 plus percentage of marks and is interested in doing PhD in Genetic Engineering for which I am ready to support her. My only instruction to her is that she should score well so that donations can be avoided. What is the way forward to get the same?
K Raghavan

Dear Raghavan,
It is nice to see your young daughter having high ambitions and willing to study hard for many years in a field she has already identified.  A word of caution is that she may change her ambition as she goes into higher classes, so do allow her to explore and consider all options.  Encourage her to take up PCMB, either continuing in ISC or switching over to CBSE. At that juncture review with her whether she is still keen on becoming an Engineer in Genetics. Help her to get into a good college, and when she completes 4-5 semesters you can take her opinion, assess her capabilities and take a decision whether she should go in for research and a PhD.  Keep in mind that she can also use her knowledge of Genetics in applications other than research.

Dear Sir,
I am currently pursuing my first sem (E&C) at a reputed engineering college in Mysore. I have always been a topper in studies. I had scored 98.56% in my tenth board exams (state board), 89% in first PU (PCMB) but due to some health complications, I could score only 62% in my second year. I always wanted to be a neuroscientist and thought of pursuing BSc in Biochem, Biotech and Microbiology after my 12th board results, but my family got me admitted to engineering. Though I am a hardworking and sincere student, Maths had never been my strong point and I am finding it difficult to cope up with my engineering studies (in which i have no interest). I wish to leave the course soon after first sem, i.e. before it is too late. Could you suggest some nationally reputed colleges where I can pursue MSc in neuroscience and entrance exams which I will have to write. I am determined to work hard to achieve this. When I first shared my plans of being a scientist, my cousins (all engineers) told my parents that a career as a neuroscientist is not at all financially rewarding, is it true? I belong to a middle class family and want to be a source of financial support to my parents as well. When I leave engg and join BSc I know that all my family would be very upset about it; I am the only child of my parents and I don’t want to bring shame on them. Whenever I think of these situations I feel completely broken and helpless, lose confidence and get nervous and anxious for all small reasons. My parents have high expectations of me and have sacrificed a lot for my sake. Can I become a neuroscientist? Is it not financially rewarding?

Dear Priya,
It is sad that you had to take up a course you have no interest in, and which may cause difficulties in future.  Since you scored so well in both 10th and first PUC, you have proven that you have the capacity to do well in academics.  It will be nice if you could somehow persuade your parents that it is far better for you to be an outstanding scientist than a mediocre engineer. Then ask yourself if you are okay losing a year, and will not get depressed.  If these hurdles are crossed, you can start preparing right now for 2014 admissions into a good institution either for BSc in subjects of your choice, or even an integrated 5-year MSc. If you get admission in a prestigious institution like the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (, you will be eligible for monthly scholarship and good career prospects.  There are many such institutions. Alternatively you can complete your BSc and go for post-graduation in institutes like National Brain Research Centre ( If committed and work hard you will make a better career than engineers.

Dr Ali Khwaja is the founder and chairman of Banjara Academy.

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