All of us remember being asked about our aspirations as kids. Anybody we met would ask us “what do you want to be when you grow up?” So as kids we are encouraged to go wild with our imagination and dream of being whatever we want to be. But how is it fine for the parents to encourage a child to explore themselves, ask them to be creative and innovative and then suddenly shut down this process once they are 15 or so, just to make them take up the “safer options” of education? This makes us college students wonder whether the careers we take up is ultimately a choice made by our parents or us.
So many factors come into play when we are talking about the influence on our career choices like peer pressure, social pressure, need to abide by the norms and not encroach the taboos, etc. But holding your own stance is very crucial as having the independence to choose a career path for yourself is just the beginning of a whole process of setting yourself on the right path. But you must remember, that there is a great deal of responsibility attached to this independence, so you have to prove yourself worthy of making independent choices by making the right ones.
The most important thing to consider while making this choice is that, picking out the right career is not only about taking up a suitable job, it is majorly about taking up something that will build you a lifestyle that you seek. A few more points to remember are;
Not ready? Don’t worry
A lot of us feel pressured to make the right kind of life changing decisions at this point of time. You need to understand that school and college gives us a lot of knowledge, but gaining life skills is important as is helps us discover ourselves better. So it is perfectly fine to hold out the decision making till you gain a little bit of experience.
The more, the merrier
Even if you don’t have a pinpoint goal set to achieve, it is always a good option to pick out an option for college or work experience that forms a basis for a wide variety of options that you can narrow down later. For example, studying English in college to keep you options of teaching, journalism, publishing, editing, etc.
Search your strengths
Once you are sure of what path you want to take up, it is important for one to explore and research in the same. Gaining experience through internships, volunteering, etc. Figure out what you specifically enjoy doing, what you need to improve at, etc.
Network is the best work
It is always good to talk to people from the same line of work as you’re interested in. Making new connections, talking to people with pre-requisite experience is always a good idea. The root of smart networking is that you must not concentrate on numbers, it is important to stay active on the network. For this, you must first and foremost have active social media accounts and not hesitate to share your opinions on there. Having a blog is very effective way of starting out. For example, you could make an account on “Blogger” or “WordPress” to share their opinions and have something as a handy reference to their writing styles. Also, creating a “Linkedin” profile would really help in creating a presence for yourself and connecting with other people who are interested in the same field of work as you are.
Don’t hesitate to participate
There are a massive number of events, job fairs, seminars that are being organised across the country every year. It is really important for you to have this exposure as it will make you fully aware and equip to make wise decision regarding your career. Once, you have attended a few of these and have an idea of how it is organised, you could take up the initiative of organizing one yourself for your particular college or club with the knowledge, exposure and contacts you would have already built. It a great way for you to learn more and help the others around you too. For example, you can start off by attending the job fairs or conferences a few of these career counselling centres or employment exchange centres organize.
Stated above are a few ways in which you could make the most well informed decision regarding your career. Ultimately though, it all comes down to pursuing what you are passionate about. Everybody has a unique personality and a set of skills, thoughts and ideas that are exclusive. We used to be creative as kids, unapologetically passionate about doing something that made us feel good. Unfortunately and ironically, this independence reduces as we grow up. It is important for parents, schools, colleges, institutions and our society as a whole to not tamper our creative process with stereotypes they attach to career choices and hopefully provide enough scope for the youth to exercise, explore and enhance their passions.