Career Corner

Education, Occupation, Confusion?

Its mid-July and counselling is happening at full flow in all the major colleges in India (except the IIT’s) and like every year there will be hundreds of students who will be tearing their heads on career deciding questions like “What to Choose?”, “How to Choose?”, “Can I compromise my favourite branch for a better College “and “Will I be able to earn enough if I choose anything else than engineering or medical”. Truth to be told these questions will continue to haunt students for eternity.Many times we take this decision based on what our parents say or the stream our friends take but we as students always wished if there someone who could help us in sorting this mess out without making us compromise on what we love. Mr. Kumar Ganeshan an IIT graduate and a student motivational speaker answers a few questions on “Career Options” and “How to decide them”.

1. What are the points to be kept in mind while choosing our streams at college after passing out of school? and How does one approach it if one is not sure?

Career planning is not like a game of darts but is like the game of chess where you have to think before making each and every move. If one has a clear goal and vision of what he/she wants do pursue and where the person wants to see himself down the line, then he must go ahead with it and strive hard to excel in that field. No field is bad it is all about “What keeps you going”. If you are unsure of where your passion lies, then I suggest that you must utilize the time that is available in between the board exams and college and carefully analyse what is available in store for you which suits your interests. The internet provides adequate information about each stream and college for one to make a choice. If you are still not sure make use of an educational counsellor or a Career Guide. I will always suggest to take up something which keeps a student alive on a mental level, something that even if your teachers don’t teach you, you’ll still take effort to learn by yourself.

2. What are your views on the classic “Medical vs Engineering” debate?
In my opinion both streams are full of scope and are highly rewarding in all aspects and should not be compared because what differentiates them is a very basic fact that at the core an engineer is a creator where as a doctor is a protector they both have different purposes in society. There are already n number of pages on this topic so no point in me making it n+1.

3. What will be your advice to parents in terms of helping their child choose a right career?
My advice would be a very simple one “Help your child choose a course by explaining to him/her the pros and cons of the choice and if you don’t know you can take him to an educational counsellor who can help them out but please do not force them to agree to your own choice. At the end it is their life and they have to live it, you cannot and should not make their decisions after a certain point in their lives. Please remember that your child is not a tool to live your lost dream and that they do have dreams of their own. Help them live it.”

4. What are your views on Entrance Examinations?
Entrance Exams in my view are necessary for they provide a way to filter students. There have been several questions raised about their efficiency and pattern and weather streams must be distributed on basis of rank in those exams and all. There are two sides to a coin while entrance exams provide a great way of checking the general proficiency of a candidate they should not be used as the only means to distribute streams but such a situation is quite bound to happen if we have so many students competing for a single seat.

5. How to balance passion and profession if they are two different things?
Working is much easier if your passion is your profession and one must always try to achieve that but in some cases when that is not possible due to some circumstances ,we must try our best to love what we doing.I have always believed that one must move upwards in success and so whenever you are into something we must give our best weather we love it or not. If you can’t do that then try doing what you like.

6. What are your views on alternate career options? and what will be your advice to people who are afraid of choosing an alien path because they will not earn enough?
The fact that you used the word alternate is indicative of the fact that today’s generation has not still lost its affinity to Engineering, Medical and other lucrative streams (Though the situation is much better than what it was 10 years earlier but the stigma persists). As I said earlier no stream is less rewarding. Don’t be shy if your passion is to make money. That is a pretty common passion. It is only a matter of time; money starts flowing automatically in any branch once you are good at it. Always do what your heart wants for you can always convince the brain. Do not be afraid to take the “Road not taken”. You will never know, someday that will make all the difference.

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7. What changes would you like to see in our educational system?

Well that’s a very long list but primarily I would like to encourage students to study for the beauty of the subject rather than just for sake of studying of it. Teachers should be like guides to students who are explorers in the wildlands in their particular subjects. Each subject hides something within itself so try to uncover the hidden beauty. When you can do it marks will automatically flow. Just respect your own stream and love it things will fall right into place. Marks are not everything.

8.What do you think which is more important the branch or the college?

Definitely the branch, the branch sticks with you for the rest of your life while the college is just for 4 or 5 years. Do not burn your passion for the sake of getting a IIT or any fabled college try to get the branch you like first everything comes next. You might choose a great college with a branch you don’t like thinking that you will eventually upgrade to your favorite branch. But believe me that does not always happen and many get depressed and get hurt by their decision so choose wisely.

To sum it up, Education is not just what you learn within your school walls but way more than that, Occupation is not just a result of your degree but something you must never get tired of doing and when both of these are chosen with patience and  care,one can be certain not to face confusion.

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