Career confusion and indecision can affect us at any stage of our career. It is important to get the right support to resolve it and plan ahead. The daunting task post Class 10 is picking the right stream. It can be a troublesome task for both students (especially at the tender age of 16 or 17) as well as their parents. Picking the right stream is extremely important as it is an early start which allows you to make the career process more structured. At times, students follow the herd mentality and pick the stream which their friends opt for, or the one that their parents suggest. This is a wrong and dangerous practice and will lead to flawed career decisions. Many students pick the stream without actually understanding what lies in store for them after joining it. Therefore, proper understanding and knowledge of the stream you opt for and the future career options they offer is very important. There is no need to panic or become anxious. The fact of that matter is that in today’s age, the number of options open to you are varied and many. It is not advisable to make hasty, unplanned decisions due to peer/parental pressure. It’s important to pursue a field you are truly passionate about.
Of course, a lot depends on what you have studied and what your interests are. However, there is now more freedom to pursue unconventional careers, for which several doors have opened up. In this article I offer some suggestions on the different career stream choices you have ahead of you.
1. Science: The Usual Favourite
Science is easily the most attractive stream and the one that almost every parent wants their child to opt for. The Science stream offers you many lucrative career options such as engineering, medical, IT and computer science, and research in a variety of domains. The biggest advantage of opting for Science stream for Class 10 students is that it allows them to shift streams (to Arts or Commerce) later on in their academic career. Simply put, a Science student can opt for any subject from Arts or Commerce stream, if they are not comfortable with courses or specialisation offered at the graduation level. On the contrary, Arts or Commerce students do not enjoy this option and are not allowed to pick science subjects for undergraduate courses.
2. Commerce: Best for Business
Commerce is the second-most popular stream among Class 10 students as a career choice. As far as future career options are concerned, Commerce stream can lead you to some of the most lucrative and high-paying jobs such as Chartered Accountants, Company Secretaries, Accountants, MBA, investment in banking sectors, Financial Advisors, etc.
3. Arts / Humanities: Off-beat & Exciting
Humanities or what is popularly known as the Arts stream is traditionally the least preferred option among Class 10 students but this perception is changing with time. Today, Arts stream has emerged as the widest study stream among all three, offering some interesting, off-beat and exciting career opportunities. Today, Arts students have a plethora of career options and most of them are equally lucrative and satisfying as the ones available through Science or Commerce streams. An Arts student can opt for career options like journalism, civil service, literature, social work, teaching and many others.
4. Vocational Training Courses
Polytechnic: After 10th class, students can do polytechnic courses like Mechanical, Civil, Chemicals, Computer, Automobiles, etc. Polytechnic colleges offer diploma courses for a duration of 3 years, 2 years and also 1 year.
ITI (Industrial Training Institutes): Students can do ITI courses for employment like mechanical, electrical, etc.
Paramedical: Students can do paramedical courses like DMLT (Diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology), DOA (Diploma in Ophthalmic Assistant), DOT (Diploma in Ophthalmic Assistant).
Short-term courses: Students can also do short-term courses like Tally, DTP, Graphics.
How to pick the right option?
Now that we have gone through why this decision is so important in your life and what each of the streams holds for you in future, it’s time for you to take the right decision. Still wondering how can you take such a major decision on your own? To simplify this process, you can follow a few simple guidelines that are provided below:
1. Assess Interests & Passion
Ever seen a working professional crib about their job or the daily grind? Trust me, you don’t want that once you start working. To avoid this, you must follow your interests and passions. The first step in this process is identifying which subject, topic or career option excites you. You can do something for a lifetime and be happy and satisfied with it only if you truly enjoy it. Therefore, irrespective of which stream you pick, make sure that you find the subjects covered under it interesting.
2. Analyse your strengths & weaknesses
After assessing your interests, the second step for you is to assess your skills and abilities. If you choose a stream merely on the basis of your interest but do not have the right skills and abilities to deal with the subjects that it covers, it will pose a big problem in future. For instance, if you are good with basic arithmetic and opt for PCM combo in Class 12, where Mathematics is of a much advanced level, you will not be able to cope with it. Therefore, you must do a thorough analysis of your skills and abilities, determine your strengths and weaknesses and pick a stream that is in accordance with your strengths.
3. Identify the right career
Once you start identifying the things that you are interested in or passionate about, you will realise that the list of long and varied. Not everything that you like or are interested in can be transformed into a great mainstream career choice. For instance, you might love kite flying and may be one of the best kite flyers in the school, but building a career in it might not be a great idea. Therefore, you need to identify which of your interest areas can offer you good opportunities and in which you can build a lasting career.
4. Seek help
If even after the first three steps you still feel confused and undecided about the stream you should opt for after Class 10, consider getting the right advice from a parent, professional counselor, or a senior. Today, there are many other career options and opportunities that await you post Class 10 but you might be unfamiliar with them. Professional counsellors or parents might be able to guide you in the right direction and help you make the right career choice.
Mistakes students make
1. Following the crowd/friends: This is one of the most common mistakes which most of the students unknowingly make. Many students just take up any stream because their friends have decided to take up that stream. This can turn out to be the worst decision of their lives. It is necessary that you choose the stream which you are most passionate about, rather than doing what most of the students are doing.
2. Parental/Societal pressure: Let’s look at a common scenario.
You: Dad, I want to take up Arts stream.
Dad: People will laugh at us. There is no future in the Arts stream. You have to take up science. Look at Mr Dar ji’s son. He had taken up science stream.
I am sure many students would have faced this situation. I am sure that many parents would have given the examples of someone to influence the decision of their child. This can lead to a flawed career decision.
3. Lack of knowledge: If we go back 10-20 years, there were very few career options to choose from. But now the scenario is completely different. The only issue is lack of knowledge about them.
The writer is a student of Economics at AMU. [email protected]