If you are in class 10, then it is that stressful time of the year where you are constantly being reminded by your school, parents, relatives to submit your preference for stream selection for class 11. Choosing the right stream after class 10 remains one of the toughest decisions a school student needs to make.
There is a prevailing concept of categorising science, commerce and humanities and mapping them to a student’s ability. If one scored higher than average they were meant to take science. If one scored average, then commerce was the go-to career option and if you scored less than average, humanities or arts was your only option!
But thankfully, in recent years, with the emergence of multiple new age career options, we are moving ahead of these old notions of how streams should be chosen based on only academics.
Below are some criteria one should try and understand before choosing a stream after Class 10.
Understand your orientation
Before choosing the stream, you need to understand your working style and outlook towards life. Are you one of those who likes to take the lead, or are you the one who needs other’s guidance for doing any specific work, or in other words, happier to follow other’s lead? Some people have a talent for talking their way out of problems, while others are passionate about helping others. Stream selection should be in step with what your orientation is, as it is an intrinsic part of you. Ignoring it will lead you to feel out of place in a career that does not match your outlook towards life.
Find an interest
This is mandatory. Almost everyone, from an early stage in life, figures out their interest. Yes, sometimes people find their interests scattered in many places, making it difficult to isolate that one key area of interest. Also, sometimes interests shift. However, by the time one is in class 10, they have a fair idea of their real interests. It is also important to be realistic — one may be fascinated by outer space and dream of going to Mars but that is a long shot (though not impossible!) To sum up, it is very important to understand what career options your interests will/can open up for you in real life.
Uncover your personality
Personality is a very complex term. In the simplest of words, it is one’s pattern of behaviour over an extended period of time. To take a basic example, some people are extrovert by nature, some are introverted, and some may be a mix of both – so every person has a different personality. When selecting a stream, it is essential to look underneath your superficial behaviour and realize what careers (and stream) would be in keeping with your real personality in the long run. This will ensure greater joy in your career.
Take up subjects you can learn
Do not choose science or humanities only because you are fascinated by the idea of it. Choose your stream depending on the subjects you have the ability to learn. Every individual has a different aptitude. Generally, we look at aptitude as a single attribute. But there are in fact several aptitudes (such as numerical, logical, creative) that are required to study a certain subject. Taking up those subjects that you possess the aptitude for, works in your favour by enhancing your chances of success later in life.
Get in touch with your emotional intelligence
You may think, what have emotions got to do with choosing the correct subjects and stream? But if you think for a minute, you will realize how much what we do in our everyday life is influenced by emotions and this influence is seen on our academics and career too. It is important to understand the components of emotion and how good one is at handling those components. So before jumping into a stream that requires much empathy or conflict handling on your part, ensure that you are ready for it.
If you keep the above factors in mind, you will be equipped to handle one of the biggest decisions of your life. Also, an important step in selecting the right stream is choosing the right subject combination to open the right career opportunities for you in the future. So while choosing a stream, you should carefully choose your subjects combinations as well.
— The author is founder and CEO, Mindler- a career guidance platform