Every year, from March to June, anxiety, confusion and thrill run high among Indian students – and why not! By this period, the board exams end – and the line-up of competitive/entrance exams keep students on their tenterhooks. Even for those who are quite level-headed and chilled out about making it to a college, this environment of ‘rushed sentiments’ can throw them off balance.
A year later, these feelings seem so far away – even unreal – unless one decides to retake these exams. But, have we ever wondered why the same set of unpleasant thoughts are so deeply ingrained in all our minds? Have we ever thought about why this fear about the future is so great that it not only stops some of us from doing our best, but also stops us from being constructive?
This thought of ‘I had some particular subjects and I will be limited to the options they offer for further degrees’ may or may not ring with all students. There are some students who continue with the stream they had pursued in standards 11 and 12; others change streams.
Nevertheless, it is a fact that we often develop a ‘tunnel vision’ regarding our choice of career.
It is my opinion that by doing this, we are greatly confining ourselves to limitations and missing out on a universe of opportunities that lie in the periphery of our chosen fields. For instance, in March 2016, when I took my class 12 board exams, I was devastated at how badly I had performed, and had ‘closed my mind’ for 4-5 days. In fact, I refused to look at all the possibilities out there, and started suffering from low-level panic attacks and high levels of anxiety.
Back then, I had been taking coaching classes for the JEE Mains in Kota. Moreover, I wanted a high score in the board exams, so that I could pursue pure physics from a reputed college.
But, I am thankful to my amazing family and its members who were already looking into and weighing career options apart from physics, chemistry and mathematics. Because of their awareness, encouragement and belief, I have now completed the first year of my Bachelor of Business Administration course in Finance and International Business from a reputed college in Bangalore, this very month.
I know, right? This was a stream totally different from what I had pursued before, which comprised of Newton’s Laws of Motion, thermodynamics, calculus and what not! In fact, I had never pictured myself studying business models, shares, marketing, etc. And yet, this was all true and happening!
My point is that there are no fixed boundaries to career options. There are majors offered in a seemingly infinite number of courses – arts, sciences, social sciences, law, business studies, engineering, medical studies, and the list goes on. There is, and always will be a ‘take it’ or ‘leave it’ option and a ‘look next’ one too. This applies irrespective of whether you want to change streams at the very beginning, or in the midst of a course.
Stop, research and then make a choice – only after looking into a considerable number of options. Being stressed about what to do and what will happen if you do or not do something, is absolutely inconsequential and fruitless. If you and your parents are worried about putting your money in a ‘secure’ degree, then the ‘guarantee of this security’ and its ‘returns’ are never certain. We cannot move ahead in future and say, “Yeah, this is working for me.” Life is all about taking chances, and moving on when it doesn’t work out.
The internet and the ability to understand English has opened an ocean of knowledge and information regarding what the world has to offer to us. If you keep looking out for what else is there, and search for newer, more attractive options, you will never be short of choices to choose from, in your life. In the process, you will even make value additions to your career. And this is true for any phase of life!
Please make sure that your parents read this too! Make them understand that each individual is unique and has a thought process arising from many permutations and combinations. Thus, one cannot be forced to follow the same direction as 100 others. College taught me that there are ‘n’ number of things I can pursue, ‘n’ number of ways to build skills and ‘n’ number of ways in which I could grow, in academics or elsewhere, which I had never thought of before.
Keep yourself updated, inspired, amazed and curious about whatever’s coming your way. Also keep discovering. And chill – your grade 12 marks will keep bugging you only for a few months. When your life takes a new turn, nobody will give a damn about them, anymore!