The RISE Blog

Stories about education. About students. From Kashmir

What after class 10th

My take on decision making; where to take advice from; how to judge;

From classes 1 to 10th, you and your classmates had the same syllabus, with a maybe a few minor differences. But right after you finish your 10th, your further education splits into "streams", the three most popular being Science, Commerce and Arts. These streams are different not only in what they teach, but also in how they teach it. As a student who has just given his 10th examinations, you are expected to choose one of these streams.

This is the first in a series of important decisions that will shape your career and all other aspects of your life from now onwards. As daunting as that may sound, making a good decision is not hard. Yet, many people do get misled, and surprisingly many get it completely wrong. Over the years, through my own mistakes and achievements I've put together a small list of guidelines that might help you through this and other decisions.

First, realize that you are constantly evolving, and so are your interests and hobbies. In 5 to 6 years, you will be a very different person from what you are today. Not only does graduate education ensure this change, it is the fundamental reason for going to college.

So how do you choose something that you like, and the person you will be 5 years from now likes too? The answer is in not looking for things that you like, but for qualities that you identify with. Divide a piece of paper into two columns and on one side write down all the things you know you like. For me, this list included reading mystery novels, solving math puzzles, doing the crossword and programming. Look for patterns that emerge from this list. In my case, it was clear to me that logic & problem-solving were my interests. Do the same for things you dislike. Based on this exercise figure out what you would really like to, and hence, want to do in your life

Once you know what you want, the next step is to research your options, to see which one fits your criteria the best. Remember, money and fame should ideally not be the overriding criterion. You need to ensure that your interests and skill-sets align with the option you chose. It's also helpful to envision and ensure in the long term your personality characteristics line up well with the option you chose.

Next step is to gather more information about the option(s) you have chosen. According to me the best method here is to reach out to the relevant people. Reach out to people who you think made similar decisions at some point of time in their life. Ask them what prompted their decisions, and more importantly, what are the positives and the negatives, if any, of the career they are pursuing as a result. Try listening to these opinions and formulate an unbiased opinion of your own. You should also try to read about the option you have chosen on online forums, educational sections of newspapers and/or magazines. At the end of the day, based on the information gathered through your research and the opinion formulated, take a firm decision.

It's usually helpful to have a Plan B. So never dismiss all your options, try having an option or two available just in case the original plan does not work out.

On a closing note I would like to add that as important as these decisions are, they are still not the end of the world. As long as you have your health, copious amounts of dedication and a little bit of hope, you'll manage to get through anything. So remember, Don't Panic.