One of the toughest questions – in fact ‘THE’ toughest – I get to answer before my young students is:”Sir, what should I do after tenth?” I, also, encounter this question after twelfth and after T.Y, too…

Frankly, some twenty years ago, when there were fewer options on Boards (SSC/ICSE/CBSE/IB etc) and, when there were fewer options after twelfth… Yes, I think, when options were fewer, it was easier for kids to choose… Now, more the options, the more the confusion!

One of the biggest fall-outs of this ‘options-galore’ phenomenon is, that young ones come out too shallow in their academics without any depth… or love and passion for any particular subject or subjects… I come across this situation on a daily basis. It is difficult to bring about the depth, love and passion in young ones the way it was possible for us, the teachers, once…

There is a story behind the choices most of us have made in life… I am talking about the career choices. Most of us have gone through the confusion and the churning before we said, “Yes, this is it!” For most of us, our parents, teachers, role models and mentors have played a significant role… But, in the end, it was left for us to declare, “Yes, this is it!”

Two days ago, I received a phone call from a mother of a tenth-standard student from Bombay Scottish School (ICSE). She wanted to enquire about our Public Speaking course. I asked her as to why she was looking for it now when her daughter was too tied up with her tenth-standard studies. She said, that her daughter had just undergone some tests in career counseling and, the ‘Experts’ had drawn attention to her non-assertive behavioral pattern…

The mother, understandably, had got concerned and started making enquiries about Workshops on Assertive Behavior and courses in Public Speaking…

“It’s just that she’s studying in Std 10 ICSE, and I already heard about her time-management problems… She’s a very hardworking and focused student… So, she said today, “Mom, where’s the time?”
She has to be assertive… She’s a very simple, sweet, loving and extremely caring teen… And, often, is ok with everything… She never voices her opinion easily at all.”

At the outset itself, I tried to calm down the mother… and said, “Ma’am, all these things do change as kids grow up… Let her focus on her studies now… Help her make her choices after tenth… See what she likes immensely… Help her to trust her decisions… Encourage her to read about successful people, some inspirational articles… there are so many articles available just by a click of the computer key…  But, I suggest not to burden her more with additional courses at this stage.”

As they lived little far from my place, I also encouraged the mother to visit our office along with her daughter, whenever it was possible for them, so that I could share some of my own experiences on ‘career choice’ and hand over some of our inspirational books (Free of cost)… “But, please don’t push her, ma’am,” I advised.

“My daughter is not open to coming as her Social Science test series are on Monday onwards
Maps are tough for her; so, she’s very intensively studying that…
What do I do now?
Any suggestions please.”

I smiled and wrote this reply:

“Hi ma'am, please relax. She has a lot to handle in 10 th. So, what she says is right... Soft-skills training can be done slowly and in many different ways. Young kids undergo a great deal of changes as they grow up. So, ma'am, I suggest, you trust the merciful Universe... She will be a wonderful kid in life. Regards.”

“Thank you so much… Sounds so doable and relieving!”

I loved the ending: “Sounds so doable and relieving!”


Pic.: Avinash Mantri


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