How to discover your true calling

How to discover your true calling

The younger generation today is seeing a number of traditional career options losing their sheen and at the same time, a plethora of new career options coming into being. Further, there is an information overdose  due to global exposure. A direct consequence of this is conflicting views about career choices among students and parents.

Informed career choice

In this light, here are some guidelines that you can follow to make an informed choice:

* Parents should discuss with their children about their career aspirations and not force their desires onto their children.

* Parents should ensure that the children are not victims of peer pressure. Some students have the tendency to choose career options that are preferred by their friends or the ones that are much in demand. Sometimes, parents also force their kids to
pursue the most sought-after careers. Such a short-sighted approach would only lead to incorrect career choices and plenty of anxiety and confusion later on.

* The right approach would be to take up an aptitude test that can help the student ascertain the right career choice based on his or her interest and potential, and then work towards the same.

* Career counselling plays a critical role in helping students plan out their career. A career counsellor is helpful as he or she can give not only expert guidance but also a dispassionate view of various options.  

* A thorough research online can enlighten the students about the pros and cons of various institutions. This would also connect them with the university's alumni and provide a channel to get more information.

* It is very critical for all parents and teachers to help students transition from school to college in a seamless and smooth manner. Further, the transition from a junior college to a professional institution should be handled with utmost care and caution.

* Another important focus area for the younger generation is to develop one's overall personality. In today's competitive world, the person who succeeds is the one who has the right attitude and multiple skills. It is necessary to strengthen one's communication and teamwork skills.

* Parents should encourage the child to actively participate in extracurricular and co-curricular activities at the school and college level. It is here that they learn valuable lessons of competitiveness and sportspersonship.

In short, it is essential that schools initiate in-house career seminars for students right from high school. This would help students know about various career options and the requirements for the same. It is ideal that the parents also attend these seminars as they can get their doubts clarified. The seminar should be followed up by an aptitude test the results of which need to be discussed on an one-to-one basis with the students and their parents.

Students need to remember that underlying interest is key to pursue a career. The age of information overdose is such that it becomes important to pause, analyse and then decide on the right career path from among a plethora of options available.

Choosing the right college

Choosing a degree in the field of interest is crucial for a student to build a strong foundation for his or her career. Though short-term courses can help students find a job, career progression will be stunted over a period of time without proper qualification. It would be ideal to complete a Masters degree in the chosen area of interest.

As the admission process can be a bit daunting for both students and parents, here are some tips that can make the process stress-free:

* Make a list of colleges that you wish to apply to: It is every student's dream to go to the best college. However, the admission process is dependent not only on your performance but the relative performance of your peers. Hence, it is better to make a list of colleges that one can apply to. This should be determined by factors like the college or university's faculty, reputation, subjects offered and proximity from home. Besides, students should also familiarise themselves with the admission procedure and the requirements for online applications.

Keep attested copies of all important  documents such as marks card, domicile certificates ready, as they are needed during the admission process. It would also be useful to visit the college you are applying to, get some ideas about the courses and interact with the students and faculty.

* Confirm the admission: Based on the admission process, take admission into the first college allotted to you. This will minimise your anxiety to a great extent. Every system allows you to continue to try for a seat in the college of your choice although you have confirmed one seat for yourself in some other college. Do ensure that you are aware of the deadlines for these procedures as these cannot be extended. As most of these are available  online, tracking becomes much easier.

* Understand the migration process: It is  important to keep in mind that the process of migration  from a junior college to a degree college has to be planned for in a systematic manner. Ensure that all the procedures and norms for this migration are understood and followed. One may also need migration certificate if the transition is across states or across different boards. Since the rules vary from board to board and even state to state, sufficient preparation will make the task much easier.

Let us remember that conscious planning is essential to have a good career. Students should never choose careers because they are popular. Instead they but should opt for the ones that suit them. Remember that if careers are not planned, they may go haywire. Besides, the latent potential that people possess may remain subdued and suppressed. Hence, parents and teachers should facilitate students to make wise career choices.

(The author is with ITM Group of Institutions, Mumbai)

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