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Thursday, 21 March 2013

Do what you do because you want to do it - Ask your counsellor Q&A column

[The following column written by me appeared in the Deccan Herald Education Supplement of March 21, 2013]

Dear Madam,

I am currently in the 8th semester of my engineering, studying under VTU. I attended two companies in placement, but did not get selected. I am very depressed about it. I am not interested in pursuing M Tech also. I have an aggregate of 76%. I am interested in civil services and I have a dream of becoming an IAS officer. It was my dream since childhood. Can an engineering student like me pursue IAS? Do I have to take coaching classes? I work very hard and I have commitment towards studies. I want to achieve something in my life. Please guide me in achieving my dream.

Dear Student,

I understand that you are depressed because you have not got a job during the campus placement season, even though you attended 2 interviews.

There is no reason to be disheartened. Look at those interviews as learning opportunities, and try to analyze and understand for yourself what went wrong.

Why do you feel you did not get the job? If you do this after every event that you perceive as a failure, the failures will transform into learning opportunities and stepping stones towards your future goals.

Remember, there may be many such failures along the way, but they don’t mean that you are a failure. All they mean is that you failed in that attempt. You need to learn from your mistakes and move on.

I am not aware of the best way that you can prepare for the IAS entrance exam. Someone who has either done that exam or is involved in the process in any way will probably be in a better position to guide you on that. I understand that you have a dream of achieving something in life.

I think you need to take some time to define what that ‘something’ is because only then can you take some steps towards achieving it. So, what is your dream?

All the best!

Dear Madam,

I completed SSLC in 2006. After that I did a Diploma in Electronics and Electrical Engineering, but I never completed the course, nor am I able to study, I don’t know what future I have. I would like you to guide me for a better life ahead. I’m struggling in every field I enter as a professional. Please help me out. 

Rakesh Manipal

Dear Rakesh

I understand that you are feeling disheartened and are anxious about your future. I am not sure of what you mean when you say that you are not able to study.

Do you not have the interest, or the time, or the financial resources, or the opportunity. It would be good for you to understand why you are not able to study.

Often what we perceive to be an external reason for us not to do something, actually ends up being an internal reason over which we have complete control and can change if we want.

I would need to understand a little more about what you mean when you say you are struggling in every field you enter as a professional.

You should also analyze what happened in every case and what were your specific struggles. This may help you arrive at a list of areas that you may feel more comfortable in, temperamentally, and a list of areas that you feel you may just not fit in. After all, success in the work place does not only depend on your degrees.

Many of the most successful people in the world do not have ‘degrees’ to support them. Of more importance in the workplace, eventually, is your self-confidence, your ability to learn, your ability to problem-solve, your ability to work in a team and lead a team; your communication skills, etc.

So find your strengths, and find a field of work which will allow you to build on your strengths.

All the best

Dear Madam, 

I’m studying M Sc (Physics). I am losing my interest in studies because I am afraid of not getting a job in this field. My parents have a lot of hopes for me. Kindly suggest some methods by which I can start studying. And also please give some information about what I can do after this. 


Dear Meghashree,

You say your parents have a lot of hopes for you. What about your hopes for yourself? Do you want to study only because your parents hope you will study, or do you want to study because you see that as a way of growing and doing something.

If your parents did not have expectations from you, what would you do with your life? Ultimately your life is your own, and you need to take charge of it, and do what you want to do, because you want to do it, not because your parents expect you to do it.

Ultimately the person who will benefit the most from your studies is you, not your parents. So you need to shift your motivation to study from the external reason (i.e. your parents) to an internal reason (i.e. you).

Spend some time understanding what you would like to do, what will give you happiness, what are your strengths and what kind of a career will play to your strengths.

I am not in a position to guide you about your future study plans. All I can say is, you need to do what you want to do, and you need to do it for yourself.

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