How to select UG Programs: BA, BCom, BTech, BSc, BArch: A problem of plenty?

posted Aug 22, 2019, 6:53 AM by Prashant Bhattacharji   [ updated Sep 10, 2019, 4:28 AM ]
How to select a college or an appropriate UG program. Things which a high
school student should know before entering college or selecting a program
- Factoring in and balancing our personal aptitude, family or peer pressure, long
term career goals etc

A post by Abhinav Janak

Many young students in India are grappling with a problem of plenty situation when they
are suddenly bombarded with a barrage of career options all of a sudden when they are
in class 10 leaving them very little time and space to really think what they really want
become in life and what really suits them in greater proximity keeping their interests and
a practical sense of options in real time. So is having a range of choices to choose from
really healthy or detrimental to a young 16 or 17 year old’s psyche passing out plus 11
or plus 12 when he or she has to choose a right UG option. Don’t you think the young
minds are too over burdened to dissect, assimilate and process so much information all
at once together with a sword of damocles hanging on their heads to decide a particular
course to move forward and for life to go on as normal?

We in India are known to have a herd like mentality in following what’s really tried and
tested since decades .ie., in taking up career choices which have been taken up in the
past by our parents and their parents and so on and so forth. Are the younger lot really
making a right choice or has our system shaped them in a manner where they make a
choice only to impress the society and to earn money? We more or less come under the
glaring scrutiny of peer pressure and more often succumb to it as we think that’s the
beaten path which has rewarded laurels to our yesteryear generations. Is this the way
forward? Is this healthy to think this way in a modern current turbulent world where new
age careers have emerged and are encouraged, where changes in technologies are
faster than expected. I personally observe when I see people around me take up the
usual engineering and medicine fields as if other fields don’t exist. News paper articles
have cited closure of many engineering and medical colleges in recent times due to lack
of filling of seats. But still youth continue to prepare of grueling engineering, medical and
CA entrance exams as if they are on a death sentence.

Why does life seem so crammed up for youth at that sensitive age of 15 to 18 where they
are so stressed to make a decision at gun point? What’s wrong if they just take a
year or two away from regular life ( Which is messy more often ) and indulge in activities
they like,  for example sports, Arts, Music, Entertainment/acting/modeling,
Sketching/Drawing, Architecture etc. Its so tough for children to reply when suddenly
asked what are their long term career goals. I have known CEO’s of companies who
have become CEO’s by a regular mechanism but who really do not know themselves
well as to what they really wanted to be! Gosh…please spare the poor young child of 14
or 15, imagine how his brain gets heated up when suddenly asked what he really wants
to become, he in his anxiety to impress the opposite person blabbers a regular usual
line which many have taken, but does he really want that is the question? We as a
society are to be blamed for this for creating an environment of beaten paths which suck
many a kid into it with not even knowing his true likes and dislikes.

I would recommend good career counselors to pitch in, be a part of the school and
observe students carefully making a note of each kid’s likes, dislikes, his mental
aptitude, his psychology, his behavioral patterns etc in order to help students select an
appropriate UG programme. Students should be encouraged to read newspapers and
magazines regularly to get a real time pulse of what’s happening around them , but they
must’nt get influenced by the society in getting pushed into a regular line which may not
be to their liking! Students must be groomed to develop their own independent thinking
and individuality to put forward their own thoughts and to help them come to their own
finalizations regarding a course which they would take after a good introspection of
themselves.

If the whole world were to have taken up only engineering and medicine, then we
wouldn’t have a Leonardo Da Vinci, a Sachin Tendulkar, a Pablo Picasso or a Sylvestor
Stallone etc. There’s more to life than being an Engineer or a Doctor. World doesn’t
come to an end if one doesn’t take these branches. I myself regret that had I known
myself well, I probably wouldn’t have done Engineering and an MBA, currently as I have
dabbled my self into Acting. Modelling, Writing, Photography, I perhaps ought to have
taken arts, Visual arts, performing arts, Editing, photography etc. These are the new
age careers which have caught the imagination of the world in delivering sheer joy
interms of having a day to day satisfaction especially if they are artistic and playful by
nature.

Not everyone is studious. Not everyone is cut out for the rigorous rigmarole in-order to
prepare for intense entrance exams which majority of them turn out to be an eliminating
form. These entrance exams are precisely designed to eliminate majority of students
and not a selective procedure. I myself know how much stress I underwent along with
nervousness when I had to write my engineering entrance EAMCET twice.

One has to beware on his or her selection as one has to live by the decision he made to
undertake an arduous study programme of 3 to 4 years. If they are not enjoyable, then
one is again forced to change their path after finishing under grad programme and
becoming an ineligible graduate to face the world. The corrections required later on will
seem stiff if they have made wrong choices in selecting their UG programme. For this
not to happen, I advocate all youth not to compare themselves with anyone. Every kid
or every adult is unique with his or her own built of personalities together with their
pshyche and emotions and the emotions play an important part in choosing professions.
What’s the gut feeling of the student? How assertive is he in indicating his likes towards
particular professions. How important is it for parents not to dictate to their children what
they want out of them to score brownie points in the society. Does society really care?
Are we all living a life to impress the society or to really do what we love?

Way forward for upcoming generation is to really do what he or she really likes and
loves doing cause the real joy and happiness is in doing what we love to do rather than
getting imposed by society.
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