Career advice for undecided students

Many students would be unable to, or unprepared to make a career choice or choose an area of study when they enter college. There are many other students who have decided on a career but later change their choice of career.

The reasons for this indecisiveness from the students’ side could be lack of information about themselves or about the possible careers available. Moreover the students might not be aware ofwhat is involved in choosing a particular career. It is also possible that there could be a clash between their interests and their skills in that particular field of career or a clash between their goals and values. Some students could be interested in multiple careers and are unable to narrow down to a specific career choice. Too many advices from others only add to the confusion and pressure and uncertainties. Many students get influenced by their family, friends, teachers and the media while trying to decide the career they would like to pursue and eventually end up following  traditional career paths, such as medicine or engineering.

Contrary to the popular belief, it is always possible for a student to change the choice of their major subjects even after making the initial choice. No student should continue with a major subject that he/she does not feel interested in, even if such realization comes much later. Though some major subjects are easier to change than others, an opportunity to change to the subject of their interest is always available.

A student should understand that a major subject chosen is only an area of study, a subject that she or he enjoys, and not necessarily a career choice. That major may or may not lead to a particular career. It is not uncommon today to see most people change jobs and even career paths several times throughout their lives.

The biggest mistake students tend to make is to restrict themselves to a small selection of career paths. It is very important for a student to know what it is that they want to do, their skills and interests. Once they understand this, they can discover what is it they want to be doing and explore the wealth of options that are available to them.Students need to struggle and work hard to find the path suited for them instead of only hoping and waiting to explore the possibilities.

Here are a few tips for students on how to sail across when they really can’t decide where to go:

Self-awareness:Alittle bit of self-awareness can go a long way towardsunderstanding the area of interest which need not be specifically associatedwith one major or career. Students  can pick a favourite among a few career choices, or at most connect two — but must be sure to make one clear choice about what is important to them.When you lack direction, the idea is to focus on the options available and choose the most suitable among them.

Taking quizzes, personnel counselling, assessment tests: These quizzes and assessments are very useful and they can help students narrow their interests down from many possibilities to a handful of them. They provide a personalized educational experience for students who are still deciding – empowering them to explore, articulate, and achieve theiracademic, career, and life goals.  Counselling from professionals will help students immensely to choose a right direction in state of confusion. Career tests can analyse and help them decide in short-listing the career options available based on the results of the tests which are conducted by professionals in their fields.

Parents’ contribution during these trying times in the students’ lives, is invaluable. They should be continuously supportive while the student struggles with this decision of career choice. Parents should be patient, understanding, less pressurizing and sympathetic towards their children during this time as choosing a course is an important choice and for many students a difficult decision.Theymust help their child identify the “real” issue behind his/her indecision and help them develop an action plan leading to a firm decision.

This could be done by:

  • Encouraging students to visit a career consultants who can help them explore his/her areas of interests.
  • Help students comprehend and assimilate any information that they gather.
  • Encourage them to join clubs or organizations in their school or outside. This will not only help them to gather information but also will allow them to spend time with other students with similar interests.
  • Help students to simplify their beliefs and goals and reassure them that they will eventually find the right career path.

By following the above recommendations, students can discover their strengths, and understand why and where they are headed in life, school and career. Later they can combine their strengths and purpose to create an action plan that could guidethem to take a proper decision in making a right career choice.

It is extremely important for the students to find where their passions lie, what truly excites and interests them and explore a career from there. Self-awareness, professional guidance and deciding on the type of environment they want to work in, type of people they want to meetwill help students make a right career choice, thus moving away from a student undecided about the right career choice to one who makes an informed career choice.

 

About the Author :

Lakshmi Kompella is a Post Graduate in Computer Applications, with diverse and varied experience in IT consulting Organizations, Media Houses, Start-up organizations. “Albert Einstein’s ‘Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school” is her mantra and she pursues knowledge relentlessly.

 

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