Every movement of the clock’s hand is a realisation that we are being ushered into a world far removed from the protected school zone. Each passing moment brings us closer to the biggest challenge of our life — entrance examinations and deciding our future path.
At this time, students like me are conflicted on how to prepare and which course they should opt later. Many try to prepare for the Board exams and entrance exams simultaneously, while others simply focus on the boards and ignore entrance exam preparation until later. I feel the former option is the best one. There is a wrong perception that competitive examinations and career options become relevant only after board exams. I have, however, seen students preparing for different careers as early as Class 9 or 10. This pushed me to look around for options for my own future.
I attended various career counselling workshops which helped me recognise the skills I would need to excel in different fields. They provided me with specific strategies to pursue a variety of career paths successfully. They even compelled me to question where I would like to study. I began to ask myself whether I wanted to study in India or pursue a course abroad. Career counselling answered many of these questions and also provided me with a list of qualifying criteria required to apply for a course at a foreign university.
I believe that students require career counselling at an early age to help them choose the right stream (science, arts or commerce) in school itself. We should be able to decide what we want to do in life by the time we leave school.
This decision does not mean that we keep only one course in mind. I feel it is equally important to have a sound back up plan just in case the career path we initially chose does not work out as we had planned. I have applied for four or five courses in universities in case I am not able to get admission into the course I desired first. I found these courses by browsing through the web.
There are multiple educational sites and professional institutions that keep us in touch with the latest alerts on registration dates, application submissions and selection procedures. With the dawn of technology where all the information is accessible with just a click of the mouse, we are reaping rich dividends by being mentally alert to cope with the twin pressure of board as well as competitive examination. I have been practising various sample papers of different entrance examinations and trying to get a feel of the actual test for which I have to appear.
Another thing that students require at this stage in their life is lots of support from parents, teachers and well-wishers. For students like me, these people play a crucial role by beating back stress and motivating us from time to time. Parents and teachers need to keep and eye on our schedules and mentor us when we need encouragement. Parental guidance is one of the most vital elements for the choices we make.
I feel that when a student develops a clear career path, things get much easier. Knowing what we can do in the future relieves us of some of the pressure that piles on at the end of our school life and helps us fare better in the boards and helps us better tackle any entrance exam or hurdle that life may throw in our paths.