The Next Step
Keep these tips in mind when choosing a course!
By Vaibhav Sharma
This is the most exciting stage of your life. No arguments about that! While the transition from Class X to Class XI can seem like a big step in terms of responsibilities, nothing – ever – will compare to the changes your lifestyle undergoes when you enter college. From the freedom you gain, to the responsibilities that come with it, to the sheer opportunities for personal and professional growth, your college years offer you an experience likely to remain unparalleled in life. Choosing your stream at this point in life is perhaps the most vital decision you’ll ever make. While it won’t be true to say that your career will, for ever, be defined by the choices you make at this time, your decisions can have a long-term impact that influences not just your professional life, but also your personal affairs. Keep these points in mind before enrolling in a course:
1. Aptitude versus Interest: Been told that you should study what you're good at? A word of caution: Just because you scored 98% in your Class XII Biology exam, it doesn’t quite follow that'll you’ll make a good doctor. You might be squeamish at the sight of blood, and your interest in biology might simply be just that – an academic interest in the subject, not a career. There are math geniuses who've hated engineering, or arts students who’ve taken admission into psychology courses, only to shift streams a year later. There is a subtle difference between being good at something, and between loving something enough to make it your career! Having said that, the two are interlinked, so don’t dismiss subjects you’re good at but don’t occupy a prestigious place in our status-conscious society. Choose something you like to do – something that interests you enough to be your main point of focus for a large part of your life.
2. Pressures abound: In all probability, your parents have made up their mind about what course you should join. While your parents speak from their vast experience of life, they might also be transferring their hopes and dreams onto you. At the same time, your friends might have a completely contrary viewpoint. Listen to everyone, but make your own decision – you’ll be the one studying the subject you choose for the next few years.
3. Be practical: So you’re a
genius guitarist and can bust our Hendrix-rivalling riffs? I hope you know that making a career in music is very hard. Why not join a course that’s allied to your interest? Perhaps Audio Engineering? Sports freak? How about Physiotherapy?
Photography? Fine Arts or Design? Keep in mind that a college degree is almost essential in India. You can always keep practising your passion alongside! There’s also the small matter of financial remuneration.
No matter how much you love a subject, you might be disillusioned if you ever start feeling that your income and/or lifestyle doesn’t quite match your aspirations. This doesn’t mean that you give up on your dreams; just be aware of the ramifications of your actions!
4. Course versus College: The
dilemma that strikes thousands of students each year. It’s when you’re in that uncomfortable position of having to decide between your favoured course at a not-so-favoured college on one hand, and on the other, a course you’re not that keen on, but at the college you want to attend. This is not the easiest of choices to deal with – a problem of plenty? The course/college you opt for has a deep impact on your levels of satisfaction and
contentment as regards your life. You don’t want to regret this decision. See what means more to you – and by how much. Are there any overriding concerns in favour of a course or college? Will you be happy in the most prestigious college doing a course that you’re ambivalent about? Or will you hate going to a less prestigious college? Take a long term view here. Your course options might eventually not be that
important; conversely, your choice of college might not be that vital as compared to the course you take up!
Keep these points in mind
before you accept any admission offer. Talk to your family, friends, and of course, to your school counsellor! Just be aware that you can’t take this decision in isolation – there are many factors that interplay and must all be taken into account – of course, depending upon how important they are to you!
Try something new
By Varun Reddy
If you are interested in making a bold move, you should think beyond the traditional streams: Arts, Science, and Medicine. There are many booming sectors in India, and you can try the following courses to enter one or more of these high-growth areas of the economy:
1. Rural India: Ask any marketer about Rural India, and you are sure to elicit a positive response. Rural India is one of India’s vast untapped resources. Courses such as a Bachelors in Rural Studies prepare graduates for playing multiple roles in the development of a rural and regional community.
Even though post-graduation will equip you better for a job, a Bachelors will get you entry into
various private/public sector organisations/NGOs/Govt agencies that deal with rural and
2. Social Work: If you are concerned about your country, and want to serve it in the best possible way, then you can always do your
Bachelors in Social Work. You’ll deal with issues related to women, the environment, man-made/natural disasters, and human rights, etc. Demand for professionally-trained social workers is expected to increase in non-governmental and governmental sectors. You can also complete your Masters in Social Work (MSW), which is considered by many public and private sector organisations as equivalent to completing an MBA in HR, thereby increasing the scope of your
3. Theatre and Acting: If you think the world is a stage and you are merely a player, then a course in dramatics will be good for you. You can hone your writing skills, learn playwriting, accents, mime, and improve techniques. If you are not up for acting, you can still make a career for yourself in PR, advertising, and the media business - and even educate others in the same craft. If you are not satisfied with a Bachelors, you can always go for a post-graduate course, such as those offered by the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).
4. Media: If you have a nose for news in any form, you could think of opting for courses in the communications and media sector. Although the news sector is at a nascent stage in India (as we can see from the quality of news reporting in some TV channels and newspapers!), it does offer tremendous growth. Courses such as a BA/BSc in Journalism/Mass Communication/Media & Communication/Advertising groom one for a career in newspapers, periodicals, magazines, radio, TV, and even at agencies such as the Central Information Service and the Press Information Bureau. You could also launch your own media website!
India is a land of opportunities. Thanks to the robust economy, we can look forward to many more years of steady growth in various sectors
such as Hospitality and Hotel Management, Textiles and Fashion Technology, Tourism (including Medical Tourism) and Travel, and Electronic Commerce. There is no dearth of opportunities in India – all it takes is a bit of research and perseverance, and you could land up in a stream of your liking. All