Charushilla Narula Bajpai, author of this article is the Founder Director & Key Mentor, University Connection Career counselling helps to nurture young minds and helps them work towards finding their aspirations and achieving their goals
I am a career counsellor, a college planner, and you?
Well, I am a lawyer. Meet my wife, she’s a teacher and that’s my son, he’s a cricketer.
You, the reader, maybe a technophile, a media professional or a musician.
Whatever rocks your boat may become your career or a vocation, but we are often known by the professions we keep. In essence, career decisions are life decisions, and life can either be blissful or drudgery depending on what we decide to do. The right career guidance at the right age, especially for young minds, can feel like someone threw a water wheely at you or taught you how to trek and find your Everest!
Considering we live in a hybrid world no longer dictated by roll numbers and chalk & duster, but by zoom logins and whiteboards, today more than ever, students are experiencing a bombardment of information. They are learning not just from teachers, parents and peers but from platforms and social media sites – at one level, this is great, but it can be overwhelming for some and lead to misinformation and misdirection as well. I remember how during a recent career session at a school, when asked to define their ambitions a number of students shared that they wanted to be on Shark Tank! That’s great, but then how? Young learners are ambitious dreamers and it is the role of a career guide to put foundations under those dreams.
You may want to launch a venture before 16, travel the world or write a book; career counselling can help you align your subjects, activities and energies in the right direction. Career exploration not only aids in expanding one’s horizons beyond what their parents tell them from a young age, or what they have grown up seeing but also exhibits what is ‘possible’ and what they are currently oblivious to. It’s a changing world and so for instance, not every doctor wants their child to be a doctor and not all doctors are practising physicians. From being a clinician to a researcher to a medicine and technology expert, there are a number of futuristic career options that can be explored with the help of your counsellor.
In recent times, my career intervention with 13-18-year-olds has been about helping them delve not only into the well-known fields of hospitality, engineering, and business but also sharpen their know-how on new-age careers like sports analytics, ethnomusicology, game design, international relations, conservation, sustainability and more. There is a zen saying when one teaches two learn; the journey between the career mentor and their mentee can be one of self-discovery and overall development and learning for both. Personally, I believe that when you help a young mind shape their ideologies, learn to research, become a better communicator, thinker, community giver – you not only get them aligned towards degrees, diplomas or a college pathway, instead you get them ready for life. In that sense, you are not only a career counsellor but a third parent in the picture.
Career counselling at high school is also linked with college planning and university selection. With a world of opportunities, it is pivotal for students to not only research about the different scholarship opportunities and course combinations available to them, but also understand how to navigate around information such as the university demographics, student-faculty ratio, financial aid, and proximity to head offices of their interests’ industry or more. Effective communication, deep research and critical thinking are skills that an effective career and college counselling routine must-have. Moreover, not all families are inclined towards sending their children abroad, or into a certain field of study. We, at University Connection, offer the Complete-Application-Admission-Schedule (CAAS) that is a scholarship and student-centric process of self-reflection, whether it be through a SWOT analysis, the Writing Enhancement Program, or just free writing for college essays, and profile engagement activities that help funnel options that would be best suited. Not only does it lead to getting into your dream colleges but also equip you with the skills needed to excel within college and life.
Career counselling is life counselling.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
First published in BW Education, March 2022