In my 18 years living, this year is a promising contender for “worst, ever”. This is because I will be completing my A ‘levels this year and am now required to select an institute/university that will become my identity for the remainder of my life. The sheer magnitude of this decision is intense, to say the least.
Now, as I go through this experience, I completely understand that things will only get harder, especially when it comes to selecting a career. Before landing on business administration as my choice of career, I have been through a whirlwind of emotions about every possible field I could qualify for and after second guessing my way to this decision, I still don’t know if that is the right choice (editor’s note: the writer is especially gifted at mathematics and is very creative in problem solving).
I am still uncertain about my judgements and I believe that explaining the process I went through while deciding this will not only help me erase my doubts but could serve as a guide for others in a similar predicament in selecting their guides.
The greatest fear we face in this process is the constant uncertainty following each choice, therefore selecting the field best for you is of utmost importance. Easier said than done.
How to Make a Choice
Now, the biggest question that comes to mind is what to look for to simplify the choice options. There are many things that affect this decision; what we think is better for our future, what our parents consider to be better, the job situation in each field, and exactly how much content is available in each field. Before we select a field, we must know all the subjects we are going to be taught and not just keep a myopic vision of only the subjects that intrigue you.
Many want to study engineering because they are good at math. Engineering has mathematics in it, yes, but engineering isn’t just mathematics or physics or a single subject that we like. It is a detailed field with different majors, each with their own pre-requisites. We need to know this before selecting the field we want to spend the rest of our lives in otherwise we’ll be studying two subjects that we enjoy and three that we have no idea what to do with altogether. A major flaw that I see in our educational system is that they teach us the details of each subject, but they don’t necessarily tell us any details about the practical applications of each.
Since revolutionizing the educational system is not on anyone’s immediate schedule, we’ll move past it. Instead we should focus on the things we can control. The first step is to remove self-doubt. Some people choose biology as their major in secondary level, now if they did not like it they would revert to mathematics as their major for higher secondary level but will not opt for computer sciences since they did not study it as a subject in secondary level so they do not know if they can perform well in it or not. Similar cases are present in children who did not study about business administration and so they decide not to choose any field regarding it as their future career. If there is any self-doubt you must first clear this up. Go to a relative who has education regarding that specific field, if you don’t have any then go to a supportive friend with knowledge about it, and if you don’t have a friend either then go to a teacher of that field and ask them to tell you the basic idea of that subject and what kind of problems it tackles. If you like it then keep it as an option among the subject, you would like to choose.
Consult with others
In many countries’ parents, siblings and relatives have a high influence on what field you choose. Agreed that parents have been through this exact phase and they can help you in selection of field but for many cases their choice is mostly dependent upon personal experiences. They opted for a field by consulting they people they knew and that influence will linger on in their recommendations. In some cases, parents want to relive or undo their past but what they fail to realize is that you are their child, not them. Your skills are not similar to theirs and you cannot cope up with their expectations. They might want you to go into medical but they fail to realize that you don’t understand one bit about biology and hate it. What good will it do if you get admission in a medical college? You will pretend to like it and will try to cope up with it, but for how long can you continue this act? A month, a year, 2 years maybe, but eventually will lose your grip. Even if the job rate of medical college is 100% then how will it benefit you if you can’t even pass? Another similar problem is the society’s approach to a specific field. There is a general concept that medical, engineering and business administration and judiciary are some good fields and they seem to consider other fields are inferior. This happens to the extent that you start to believe that these are the only possible options. No, this is not the case. If you are good at economics but your drawing skills are off the charts then you are meant to be an artist, not am economist. It doesn’t matter what your society says about that specific field, each field has its own beauty and we need to respect that. If there is something you know you are good at then chase it and make it your ambition, don’t care about others, make your future something you can be proud of. The people are not going to live your life, you are. If something gives you mental satisfaction then let that be your dream.
Know what you want
A major thing we need to know is whether a certain thing is our hobby or passion. This is often confused with one another. Let’s say you had a really busy day, on your way back you decided to stop at a place and get some coffee. While you are waiting for your order you open your mobile and start reading articles on astronomical research. Once you reach home you are extremely tired and you open your laptop and decide to write a story. Now your hobby might be to read articles but your passion is story writing. In order to succeed in life you need to find a field that matches your passion, for hobbies change by time but passion remains stagnant. If you are confused what your passion is then think about your last few months. What was it that you were willing to do even when you were exhausted or were bored, and did it cheer up your mood? If it helped you to relax then it is your passion. Choose a career that relates to your passion.
Look at the numbers
Lastly if you leave a child to decide which field to opt without any external interference then the first question that will come to him mind after his personal likings is the job opportunities of that field. No one wants to study for years to know that his education will not bear any fruits. In Pakistan there is a general concept that medical has really high job security when compared to engineering and so many parents want their children to do medical. This might be true as statistical data shows that in Pakistan out of 110,000 doctors, 11,000 and unemployed while in engineering out of 182,000 50,000 are unemployed. In other ways unemployment rate of medical is 10% while that of engineering is 27%. Now you work hard to become a doctor but what guarantee is there that you will not be among the 10% of the unemployed. What matters for a job insurance is your performance in the field and your level of expertise. Let’s say your favorite career has an employment rate of only 5%. If you choose that field then the chances of you being in the top of your batch are more than if you select a field which you can barely keep up with. If you are in the bottom 5% of your batch then irrespective of how secure a field might be the chances of you getting a job are still minimal compared to a field in which you are the best at? Therefore we must study to polish our skills and if we manage to be the best or one of the best in the field we choose then our job opportunity will remain high. If we can dedicate our lives to the certain thing we enjoy then we do not need to worry about employment rate.
To sum up while deciding a future career we need to remove self-doubt, listen to the views of the ones around us but keep them less important to our own views, discover our passion, follow what we like and our future will have a better chance of success.