Genuine interest is all that matters

Dear Sir,
I have been quite a bright student since my school days, passing Class X with 97%. I have always been interested in literature, history and acting and wanted to study arts. However, I was forced to study Science for the PU.   I am currently in the 1st year PUC, my discipline being biology. I am not all that interested in this course. I want to make a living out of either acting, teaching or writing. With none of these subjects included in my course of study currently, I would like to know some courses in history, which offers the study of Ancient Europe, Symbology, etc and at the same time help me improve my writing skills. I have wanted to get an MPhil from the Harvard University, but am unsure as to whether they accept Indian students with science background.

Dear Helena,
Since you are a bright student, you will not regret having studied science for two more years, and if you move into Arts after PUC you will not have much difficulty catching up.  Put in your best efforts so that you get reasonably good marks in PUC, and plan in advance to get into a good college to study subjects of your choice. You can switch over to a degree course with History, English, Communication etc. and then aim for a good university in India or abroad to do a Masters in the specialisation of your choice. If by that time you have managed good grades, show genuine interest and have a focus in a specific area, even the best universities of USA will consider your application, regardless of having studied science in PUC. In your generation there will be many good career opportunities if you are genuinely interested in a field, explore beyond curriculum and are willing to initially struggle it out.

Dear Sir,
I am a student of Class IX.  I had been good at studies but since I entered my high school I face problem with Maths. I have no interest in Maths and Physics now-a-days. I like Biology and Social science and my aim is to become a doctor but since I am not good in Maths and Physics, I have no hope of my future. Could you suggest a profession which would suit me in future?
Sumran Sultana

Dear Sumran,
There is good news for you. After your 10th you can take up Biology, Chemistry and Physics with a fourth subject like Home Science, Psychology, Information Science, etc.  You need not study Maths.  However, Physics is an essential part of medicine, and it should not only be studied, but will also help you in your future career. If you get a good coach and mentor for Physics and brush it up, you will be able to not only become proficient, but will also start liking the subject.  Once you finish your 11th /1st PU, then you can choose between medicine, alternative medical streams, paramedical sciences and other life sciences.

Dear Sir,
I am a student of second PUC (Science) and will be completing the same in 2014. I am confused about what to do after PUC. Now-a-days, engineering and medical have become common. I would like to know what are the other options available after PU. What are the exams I should write to get enrolled for those? I am intersted in Maths but poor in Biology.

Dear Pranali,
Don’t worry about what has become ‘common’ and not. Select your career based on what you are good at and what you are interested in, and you will not have to bother about competition. Even keep in mind that just because you have studied science for two years it is not necessary that you have to take up only a science-oriented career, you can switch over to anything of your interest.
However, if you have a love for science and have been performing well, you may consider studying pure science in any of the prestigious institutions like IISc, IISERs, NISERs and even IITs and NITs.  On the other hand, if you wish to go into life sciences, you can go into streams such as agricultural science, environmental science, paramedical field, animal husbandry, and forestry to name just a few. Your decision should be based on your abilities and interest.

Dear Sir,
I am a third year BSc student at an autonomous college in Bangalore. As I scored 80.16% in my 10th standard my parents asked me to take Science for PUC. I am good in theory but weak in Maths, Physics and Chemistry problems and I scored only 55% in second PUC. My CET rank was 52,000. I did not join Engineering because I thought I would fail in my exams. I took BSc with Physics, Chemistry and Maths. I have passed all semesters with distinction and have only one semester left to complete my course. I want to join Engineering after completing BSc. Am I eligible? I do not want to do MSc as I am not interested in teaching. Will I find Engineering easy at least now after doing my BSc. Can you suggest any branch in Engineering which does not have much of Maths. I have heard that students of BSc can directly join II year engineering through CET. Is it true? I am confused. Please guide me.

Dear Sana,
It is very heartening to see your desire to carve out a good future for yourself despite the setbacks you went through earlier.  Your hard work and determination has paid you dividends and you are completing your graduation with distinction. Congrats! Do not force yourself to take up engineering now if you do not have a strong desire. There is ‘scope’ in many areas of science and its applications.  There are national level institutions like IITs, NITs, IISc etc. that provide excellent post graduate courses in different fields of science. You do not have to restrict yourself to teaching; scientists are required for research, product development, quality control, documentation, content development, domain expertise in computers etc. The present and last CEOs of Infosys are both Physics graduates, the phenomenal achiever Ms. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon is a science graduate, to name just a few.  Find out which area of science you are really good in, and pursue your passion.

Dear Sir,
I am a 21-year-old CA final student appearing final exams for the 1st time in May 2014. My subject of interest is Direct taxes and therefore I would like to join the CBDT to make a career. I would like to know which exams are to be attended and the means of applying for the same  to get into the posts of Commissioner Level ( ACIT,DCIT etc.,). Further, I am scared if I appear for UPSC exams I might end up in other departments in which I don't have interest.Please guide me to achieve my dream.
A student

Dear Student,
It is good that you have a focus in life and would like to involve yourself in direct taxes. But unfortunately there is no separate selection for Income Tax Service.  If you appear for the UPSC’s Civil Services Exam after graduation, and if your rank is good, you can choose between Indian Revenue Service (Taxation), Indian Audits and Accounts Service, Indian Railways Accounts Service and many other closely related services. If your rank is good and opt for IAS, you can be posted as Finance Secretary and similar posts that deal with finance and taxation.

Dear Sir,
I am a BCA second year student. I would like to know whether web designing or web development is a viable career? What is the difference between web designing and web development? Is there any specific courses or certifications for web development and designing?

Dear Neerja,
As a BCA student you should have by now received sufficient exposure to web design. If you have not, then take up a short-term part-time course in this subject and get a ‘feel’ of how good you are in it.  Your creativity will play an important role.  Once you are sure of this career choice, then after your graduation you can take up PG Diploma in Web Design.  Web Development includes design, and also management, updating, client interaction, finance etc. You can have a rewarding career as a web designer, if you are good at it.  

Dear Sir,
Could you please advise me on the best suitable courses for a girl student after SSLC, not exceeding a duration of 5-6 years?The course should help her to get general education and help her to earn from home along with managing the family life in future.

Dear Subhash,
Your question is too generalised. Today, a girl can qualify herself in any field which she is good in, and has a passion for, and then decide how much time to spend on work, how to balance family commitments, and even work from home if she wants to. The key to success lies in selecting a field that she has a passion for and she is good in. There are innumerable careers where she can stop studies after basic graduation, take up a job, and continue acquiring higher qualification through distance learning and on-line courses, or through international certification that does not require her to attend college.
Encourage and help her to find what field would suit her personality and abilities best, and based on that select the optional subjects for PUC.  Then review after one year whether she is going in the right direction, and encourage her to prepare well and get admission to a reputed institute in her field, which will ensure a good future for a long time to come.

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