Confusion about career?

I am studying in Class XI in a non-medical stream. I have confusion in choosing the right career path. My friends at school talk about writing IIT-JEE. I don’t have much interest in it, but it’s like a compulsion because they all say that it is the only way to get into a good college. I wish to be something else in my life. I am afraid of the pressure put on us before clearing such engineering entrance examinations. This field has a lot of poeple rushing for it, and so I don’t wish to go there. Please tell me how I can find my interests.

Choosing a right career is an important decision in a person’s life. There are a plethora of career choices now and there is scope for most of them. Several factors influence the choice of one’s career, and a person’s interest, aptitude, personality, values, financial background, skills and opportunities play a vital role. Each of them is interlinked and a clear analysis will help you make a good choice. Also, each career has certain skill requirement. Analysing your strengths and weaknesses will help you decide if you are suitable for such a career and if there are areas you could improve upon. The best way to analyse all the areas would be to do a career assessment when you are not very clear. There are good career counsellors who do career assessment with different scientific career assessment tools. It is worth making the effort now rather than regretting after making an undesirable choice. Good luck.

I am in Class XI and have joined a private institute for engineering entrance preparation. My marks are always going down in objective tests. I am worried if I would be able to crack JEE mains. My parents are spending a lot of money on me, and I don’t want to disappoint them. If I do not perform well, I will lose my dream of becoming an engineer. What can I do to improve my results ? Please help me.

You are anxious about the results of your examinations. This will affect your performance to a large extent. In order to improve your results, you have to first identify the areas you are confident in and those that need improvement. A proper strategy needs to be followed while you prepare and write objective tests. If the tests have only objective type questions, then you must be able to decide the most appropriate answer. If the test has different scoring pattern, choose the higher marks category first as you would need more time for them and can do better when you attempt in the beginning. Also, do not spend too much time over questions you are not clear or confident of the answers for. You can get back to them while reviewing. Your goal must be to make use of the time diligently. In case of negative marking tests, you have to take extra care to choose the answers. It is better to answer only those you are confident of. It is very important to handle your anxiety. Try to keep yourself cool. Accept the fact that you cannot control your results but you can definitely contribute to your preparation and performance. When you become anxious you will lose focus and will not be able to do well in the tests. Take time to analyse your performance, what you can do to perform better and work on them. It is good that you are concerned about your parents. The best way to satisfy yourself and them is by putting in hardwork and improving yourself. Parents will be happy when you realise their efforts and make the best use of your ability. Practice helps a person perform much better.

I’m a Class IX student. As I’m preparing for my Board exams, I wonder what career I should pursue. I have several interests and hobbies such as singing, teaching, computer science etc. Please help.

Happy to know that your interests are varied. It is the right time to plan for your career. It is always desirable to balance both your studies and hobbies. Before you make your choice of subjects, it is good to analyse your interests, skills, strengths and weaknesses, family values, financial ability, your personality etc. Explore the different options and careers available. Talk to your parents, teachers, friends or those in different fields. It is not just sufficient if you like to do something. You have to see if you would suit the career you are interested in. There is always scope for improvement if you are very keen on doing something. Without getting a clear picture, it is not good to choose a career and regret later. Do a SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. If you need further help, you could approach a career counsellor for guidance.

Arthy Sriram
is a counsellor for a reputed school in Chennai, a visiting counsellor for an IT company and a career counsellor. She conducts life skills training for children and adults.

* Names of students have been withheld to protect identity.

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