April 5, 2014
It has been exactly an year since we initiated the students help centre- an online forum to assist students and working professionals who seek help at crucial times or when situations have reached their breaking point. But there is a striking resemblance to the root cause of almost all the student related problems that have been brought to our notice. It is more often than not, “poor decision making” at crunch times that sets up the chain reaction that never ceases to be punish, and the young ones that we love the most, end up as the lone warriors fighting it out.
We as parents and educators, need to have an open mind and the belief in our children, that will not only help them choose well, but to ensure that they put all their might in their quest to live their dreams.
We know that parents and teachers/ lecturers have a major say when a student has to make a decision. And from where do parents get most of their inputs from? It is from their close relatives, friends, business associates, fellow club members and as of late, google.com. But have we even thought for a while, are we justified in doing so? Who is that who knows our child better… my business partner or myself? Who does our child need to share his thoughts to… my good neighbour or myself? The fact is, the more we discuss about our child’s futurewith anyone else other than our child, and chances are that we would be eventually making a blunder.
After all, the important things we need to be doing right
• Understanding our child – Strengths, weaknesses, Interests, Ability, Talent etc
• Assessing the streams available that suit our child the best and explaining them to our child.
• Shortlisting those institutes that not only provide the desired course content, but that pay emphasis on overall development and growth of a student. We do not need our toppers in the state to be depressed ones at home.
Some commonly made mistakes
• Leaving it too late to make crucial decisions- we have seen students deciding science, commerce or arts just seconds before they have registered their applications. This is just ridiculous!!! It is recommended that we give ourselves ample time to think over our decisions practically and work towards it. Whenever, I was asked about what would be the best time to seek guidance for careers or courses, I have always said “don’t wait until your child has answered his class X or XII board examinations, but have him guided on the conclusion of Class IX or XI. This will not only help him work towards his goals but will decrease the pressure to a large extent”.
• Aptitude tests are not final decisions- Tests are always tools to recommend a students ability to pursue a particular field. They are effective ways to assess ones ability. They only suggest “what you CAN do comfortably” and not “what you SHOULD do at any cost”. Most of the students and parents alike take only aptitude results into consideration and completely ignore the INTEREST factor.
• Marks determining choice of course- Students marks should never be the criteria for choice of course. A student who has secured 95% in 10th boards should be as encouraged if he/she wishes to choose an arts course as a 70% student who chooses to pursue a science combination.
• Their career needn’t be the same as your career- It is not a co-incidence that in most cases, a doctors son ends up being a doctor, businessmans’ son yearns to be a businessman and so on. If a student decides to pursue a similar profession as that of his parent, and he/she finds it desirable and fulfilling, we shouldn’t think twice about extending all our support to that student. The problem arises where the student just do not have the interest or the ability to pursue what their parents have been doing for a living but the parents insist on them to either follow their footsteps or not receive any kind of support in the future.
• Following the herd- It is important to be very selfish when you make important decisions like choosing your career. We should ensure that our children do not follow their peer groups when choosing their courses. If they make such decisions for themselves, they may have to suffer because of it. It is true that young students would like to have all their friends in the same college, in the same class and sitting with them. But choosing your stream involves much more than just that. It could make or break your career.
So what is that we could really do to provide our children to ensure that they make a good start?
• Firstly, it is important to know they have just written their boards or competitive exams, the results will be out in sometime and there is nothing that anybody can do about the outcome. This is the time, we need to get our children relaxed, let them ease out of stress they have been going through. Ideally take time out and venture out for a family excursion or holiday. During this time, avoid talking about serious issues or topics relating to their future or careers.
• After letting it loose for a few days, it’s time to get them think about themselves in depth and understand their vision, interests, talents and goals.
• Listen to your children and only to your children. Encourage them to think practically and critically, without considering their academic performances. Taking in suggestions or opinions from too many people would create confusion at best, and will never lead you to the best results.
• It is important to choose courses that would lead our children towards their goals. And it is even more important to select the desired course and then choose the best college that offers our choice of course.
• Once we have decided on our choices, it is very important to instil confidence in our children and encourage them throughout their tenure. There will be times when they may be going through difficult times with regards to academics or many other issues. We are the ones who need to keep them on their toes.
• We need to encourage our children to be “fighters” and “learners”. There may be majority of students around who may not be having positivity to show about them and this could rub onto our children. This will result in our children showing mediocrity in their approach and lack of enthusiasm and effort.
To wind up, I would again like to remind our dear parents and students that it is our will that shows us the way. And as long as we know what we are and what we want to be, and show the required effort to get there, every field that we choose will have tremendous scope for growth.
We as parents, the best thing we can do to our children is to say “WELL DONE” when they have put their best efforts and “WE ARE WITH YOU” each time they fall.
Wishing our youngsters that each one of you have a wonderful career and we would like to extend all our support for your growth and development via our help centre firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
John Fernandes Archives:
- Life is a Game
- Dealing with Homecoming: The Well-known Stranger
- Career Guidance: Food for Choice
- Now I see it...Now I don't