As parents and children start looking for study options and enrolment for college courses, the most important thing to be borne in mind is the 'passion' of the student. A good number of students over their school education would've built an inner passion towards a certain field of study. And they would want to get a college degree in that particular field. For instance, a student who has built a desire towards flying objects, space, aircrafts etc. might want to take up college education in, say, aeronautical/aerospace. Now, the parents should be giving consideration to the choice and desire of this child. It's entirely wrong on the part of the parents to insist on their own ideas and force the child to take up a course of study against his/her desire. Parents must be patient to listen to the passionate desire of their children, if they possess one, in taking up a certain study course. If you are a parent reading this do ask for God's grace to lead your children in the right path (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21).
In the unfortunate event of the student not having any passion or clear goal in choosing a subject of study, he/ she should be prepared to listen to the advice of the parents/elders. Both the student and the parents should make a thorough search/study of the various options before them. It's likely that students generally fall into one of the following categories: Those with pure science courses background (Physics, Chemistry, Biology only), one with Science and Engineering combination (Maths plus Science subjects), another with Economics (Commerce, Accountancy etc.). There are also a few who have developed a liking for ‘Liberal Arts/ Humanities/Media-both print & electronics’ kind of careers. Also, a career in management can be taken up in all the above said specializations with a postgraduate degree earned later. Parents and students must clearly identify choosing career options in one of these categories. The various possibilities include engineering, medicine, paramedical (pharmacy, physiotherapy etc.), biosciences, agriculture/fisheries, banking & finance and law.
Generally, parents/students while trying to choose a study- career, must consider the following AND in the same order: passion/interest of student, academic ability and talent level of student to cope up with the required subjects of study, scope of employment and financial needs. It is interesting to note that those desirous of careers in the government, state or central, can still pursue the same career options as above. But, they should carefully follow the announcements made by the government agencies about the ‘competitive examinations’. These include UPSC, SSC, Railways, UGC, Defence services (Navy, Army, Air Force) exams apart from Bank Officers/ Clerk level tests, LIC/GIC exams which are open to ANY Indian citizen. Some students are thoughtful and wise in that they choose an academically ‘lighter’ study programme in, say, liberal arts/language, but spend greater portion of their efforts in preparing for such competitive examinations and successfully accomplish dream careers of their choice – become an IAS, IPS etc.
Those who have a flair for teaching can take up ‘teaching careers’. For teaching at the school level one needs a B.Ed. degree after graduation. For college level teaching careers, clearing National/State level Eligibility Tests (NET, SLET) conducted by UGC/State agencies is mandatory.
Those wanting to take up higher studies after earning a college degree must look to prepare, along with their academic learning, for national level entrance examinations (GATE/CAT etc.) for PG programmes in premier Indian institutions. With various scholarship/ financing schemes available today, higher education abroad is certainly within reach for many in our society. Again, performance in tests such as GRE/TOEFL/IELTS/ GMAT matters. Those who plan and prepare can easily crack such examinations.
One should always bear in mind the skill-set requirements of the present day ‘digital era’. Whatever is your career option, it’s in fact, all about getting your ABCD right – Artificial intelligence and machine learning, Block chain, Cloud and Data analytics. These have pervaded any perceivable domain in today’s world, be it engineering, medicine, media, commerce, finance etc. It is always advisable that students keep learning these skills along with whatever study programmes they choose.
Bible says “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6). When we trust God and acknowledge Him in all our ways, He directs us in the way we should go or not go. Although, we might go off course sometimes, God will not take us back to the starting point but simply re-direct our paths (like a GPS system) towards the right track. His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path so we need not fumble around in the dark when we don’t know what to do.
The plain fact is that a student who is willing to remain focused in studies, prepared to work hard putting the trust in God, keeping away from unwanted worldly distractions (Psalm 119:9), can shine in ANY field she/he chooses to take up.