I have just entered eleventh grade, the land of the sleep-deprived, or my junior year of high school, and as was the case in tenth grade, I have two words for my academic life now, Information Overload. For once, I’m not talking about the academic pressure, (yes, of course, it’s presence is unfading, but it’s something that has almost become secondary when the rat race of securing admissions in good colleges is taken into consideration). Most students enter eleventh grade knowing that academic pressures will be high, but few know that their conversations will, over the course of the next two years, be solely dominated by comparisons of elite colleges and universities.

With an influx of advice from experts such as career counsellors and online portals engaging in career mapping, students like myself often end up becoming more confused, with various adults conducting psychometric tests on us poor lab mice to determine the ‘best fit’ career options for us. They also suggest other back-up careers which support our interests in case our first choice fails. No doubt, in India, this is a relatively new service, and in many underdeveloped areas, where children do not receive career guidance at home, these counsellors are providing some excellent help. In addition, let’s face the fact that it’s a fantastic business opportunity as well; the fees, per student, for a few sessions and some personalised help, ranges from Rs. 7000-10,000.

The fundamental problem with many of these psychometric tests, apart from the standardisation, is the fact that they suggest careers on objective parameters, on the basis of which they further outline career plans, including best fit colleges. However, perhaps a more functional solution, maybe not perfect, involves regular sessions of workshop vocational training, where students interact with experts from various fields including medicine, law, performing arts, pure sciences, engineering, business, etc. Teaching students the real-time requirements and aspects of a career, along with potential future advancements in the field, is the ultimate way to get them decided on what they like or dislike. Personally speaking, one of my extremely talented friends, unsure of her goals, has recently appeared for five consecutive psychometric tests, each with divergent results. Now, she has reached a point where she believes that she has no focus and can never get anywhere. If she had actually met some experts from the various fields she is interested in, she might have found her calling or her ‘dream’ career.

Another major problem I see with psychometric evaluation is the intense focus on the ‘dream’ college. The career coaches suggest ways to get into those colleges and get the brand name of those colleges on a student’s resume. In eleventh grade, no one talks of anything less than getting into MIT or UC Berkeley, without realising what they actually want to do there. The university or college becomes the students’ goal, not the pursuit of excellence in their chosen field, and that is precisely where I see a problem. The question, ‘what happens once I get into the university?’, is one few know the answer to. Few are aware of their big-picture plans.

For most students, regardless of the course they’re pursuing and its alignment with their goals, it’s just the brand name of the university that matters; the brand name providing the student a perceived sense of merit and also being their source for some good connections/networking opportunities in their field. Counsellors thrive on this branding and marketing; after all, ‘thirty of (insert counsellor’s name)’s fifty students are in Ivy League colleges’. As much as I’m programmed to want to get into one of these colleges myself, sometimes I feel that these colleges are only selling membership to an exclusive club. Indian entrance examinations are another ball-game altogether, where there’s no subjectivity whatsoever; scores, and only scores, matter for top-notch colleges here.

For all those students criticising their parents or teachers for pushing them in a certain direction, I just want to say one thing. They have observed you for the last fifteen to seventeen years of your life and will always be with you; they can give better advice than a counsellor who has known you for little more than two hours, and that too, via a psychometric test. I would like to add that I’m not demeaning the work of counsellors, this is just an opinion, but I’m tired of the ‘I’m going to a counsellor for career advice’ fashion statement that comes from students these days.

With that, I’m signing off, to probably go and write another mandated psychometric test. πŸ˜‰

37 thoughts on “Error 404

  1. Haha.. πŸ˜€
    You will always feel and experience that “Information overload” phenomenon! It’s not going to stop or lessen till you don’t stop craving for more learnings! But that won’t be the case with you, i can safely hold. 😁
    Yes, right there! Councilors hardly can guide a student in their already few/many paid-sessions! How can they? By mapping stats out of student’s academic credentials?! How convenient!! 😌
    Now parents and teachers! Yes they can be a good guide, given they both have better understanding of who you are!! Not just through your academics, but your potentials as well!! Potentials!! Harnessed as well as those, that are yet to be explored and yet to be pushed off their limits.
    But again, they(parents and teachers) both might fall flat!
    Why?! For obvious reasons, they both try to play themselves dummy for somebody else(the student)
    So.. who’s the game maker for the student?? Who would be that??
    The students themselves! Simple !! By Keeping all the rational factors(their academics), sceintific factors(their potentials and Will to push off their limits in case the rationale part has previously suffered) and the vision of who they want to become and what they want to make out of their lenght and breadth. But yes.. parents!! They do can act real Angel at that point of time, carving and helping their child to make it best for themselves!
    And Hence, a confused or worried teenager needs more of himself/herself with an understanding parents to shape and figure out the most feasible present and the best future!!
    Ps. As usual you brought a very fresh and vital topic to reflect upon. 😊😊

    Liked by 4 people

      1. No, you’re not a desperate critic. In fact, you’re doing an immense favour to desperate bloggers like me who look forward to hearing from readers in order to improve. I’m continuously trying to evolve my writing style and the range of topics I cover, and it’s always exciting to hear from readers, because the ultimate aim of any writer is to give their reader something to take away from the written piece. I’m so fortunate to have readers like you and I so, so appreciate your comments.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha.. i know, i know i am not!!πŸ˜›
        Na na.. not a favour Maanini.., i love reading everything and almost anything that has positive tone, and your write-ups to me are pretty dynamic and engaging.
        Have said it umpteen times, at your stage it’s rare to find a reasoned outlook.. !! And hence.. i tend to converse with you almost every time πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you for calling my write-ups positive and engaging. My personality is quite the opposite, actually. πŸ™‚
        I love reading your impassioned articles as well! At this age, I really am flattered by the amount of respect and admiration adults treat us teenagers with, only if we behave maturely. It’s kind of nice to have adults in your peer group; it always adds diversity of thought and perspective.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I mean every word i say ☺️
        And it’s not about behaving maturely, adults too suffer infantilism sometimes πŸ˜€. In your case and the likes of you, it’s about knowing and acknowledging the harsh reality and not just keep floating in synthetic bubbles at this nascent age of building the foundations!
        Keep up your senses enlightened Maanini.. 😊😊

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Thank you for the comment! In fact, when people like me acknowledge the harsh reality too much, it comes across as complaining; so we have to steer clear of such fine lines. πŸ˜‰

        ‘Floating in synthetic bubbles at this nascent age of building foundations’, wow, what an amazing way to word it. I’ll use it in my next post sometime. Sounds like you loved Chemistry in your school/college years. πŸ™‚

        Thank you! I try hard to keep myself well-informed! Being part of this blogging community has greatly helped me there.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Hahaha.. Okay Smart Teen.. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰
        πŸ˜€πŸ˜€ Damn.. i wish i could say that😁😁.I was good but certainly lacked sincerity back then.. 😌😌! May be that’s why i can relate and word those amazingly now..😬😬.
        Yeah.. stay afloat πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Sincerity can be acquired at any point in life, though it’s a hard quality to imbibe as an adult. I admire people who have the capability to strike balances in their lives, sincerity in work and plenty of time for other enjoyable activities. Personally, you might have been a carefree child, but now, you are a sincere, responsible adult.

        The age of sixteen, seventeen are the last years of childhood a person has and if these last few years are spent in a pretentious sense of adulthood, there is going to be long-term regret.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. What you’re saying is so true. Craving for more learning is an essential part of life and we students are not as perfect as our tenth grade result makes it seem. The biggest factor for most students’ depression is the sudden downfall in grades from tenth to eleventh; from the 90-99% to a sudden 75-85%. Though grades have little to do with actual learning, many students, including myself, do impose pressure upon ourselves for good grades. Thank you for considering me to be a learner, I’m very moved.

      Counsellors honestly try to understand the student, but this entire facade that they put up, of trying to help children from underdeveloped areas find their dream, is just disappointing. They’re in it for the money, just like everyone else; education is a business.

      Parents and teachers might not always make the perfect decisions, yet their ultimate goal is to get society to perceive their child as successful, when the child is seen as successful, the parents and teachers believe that happiness is ensured, which is not always true. I fortunately do not have such parents and teachers, but I can understand the mindset of most others. That is why I believe that parents and teachers are good guides to solicit advice from, but the only one accountable for a student’s decisions is the student himself/herself.

      Teenagers do not like making life decisions, as much as they say they’re capable, they’re not and most of them (including moi) know it. Most teenagers like the aura of independence, yet are not ready to handle responsibilities like mature adults. That is precisely why most of us grumble and behave confused when it’s time to decide our careers. Very few jump in excitedly at the thought of beginning a career and becoming an adult.

      Thank you for your reflection on the topic I have brought forward for discussion. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow!!! πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡
        I mean.. Every teenager should read this comment 😍😍!!
        And i wish every one of them could hold this acknowledgement today!! Obviously me too, back then..!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
        This is so ridiculously true and honest πŸ’ž
        Yeah.. thanks to you and a bit to me..πŸ˜€ , this comment of yours is pure GoldπŸ‘πŸ‘βœ¨

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for calling my comment pure gold. Very kind of you. And I’m pretty certain that most teenagers know this truth somewhere, they just don’t want to admit it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great point. I’m a little surprised that they haven’t given you some work experience in the field you are interested in and provided some workshops. My little sister who is around your age has been to science fairs to see whether she wants to pursue in the healthcare field. It really helped her to decide what she wanted to. Really, career counsellors are good but yes, I agree, some career workshops would add much more relevant information and the career counsellor should then be able to guide you based on which profession you felt most suited to you.
    Best of luck! My little sister is unhappy with her schools approach to examinations and student mental health so I understand how you must be feeling. Nonetheless, I believe in you and I’m sure you’ll be going to great places. Hope you are well! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I genuinely want to work in the healthcare field, quite similar to your sister’s dream, and I’m sure you’d have some excellent advice on this. No, we haven’t been provided with any workshop sessions with actual professionals.

      Awww, that’s so sweet! I hope your sister achieves whatever she wants, and yes, at this stage, I can safely comment that it’s extremely difficult to juggle both coaching and school life perfectly. School exams can be quite pressurising. Thank you for believing in me, this online community is so great because of people like you! And with your impassioned writing, you’ll be quite a famous writer one day, in addition to the career you’re already pursuing. Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure how much it will work, but a petition to the school official and governing authorities for workshop sessions and work experiences might be a good place to start. A letter might also be a good idea.

        Aw, thank you, I’m glad we are all here to support you. You’re very intelligent, and your prose is excellent, you will surely go far. And thank you, that means so much to me. ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for the advice! Will definitely look into arrangements of possible workshops around my residential area or in my school.

        Awww, you’re so sweet! Thanks for your super-insightful comments, always!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. No, please don’t dread anything. πŸ™‚
      Look forward to all your school years with joy; you only have two more left. After that, you’re an adult with your career as your own responsibility. Tenth seems very pressurising, but trust me, the confidence that accompanies your final result is truly worth it.
      And please keep writing! I love reading what you have to say!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the input..I’m just living through it right now. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any blogging. Glad to reconnect and will publish the post you nominated me for, very soon. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Certainly. Eleventh grade leaves you with little time. Will put it up in another two weeks or so. Great questions, by the way!


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