Do you feel uncertain of a career option? Do you lack the freedom to choose a subject that you really want to pursue? Do you always feel low on self-confidence? Are you constantly doubting yourself? A Q&A column to assuage your doubts.

I am 19 years old and am pursuing English literature. Despite completing science in class XII, I opted for English because I love teaching. However, it is only when I got to the second year that I realised that English isn’t child’s play. I speak and write well, but I don’t read much. I am unsure about whether or not to pursue master’s, or move on to something else. Could you suggest other courses where I can best use my skills? — Emilin Abraham

Dear Emilin,

What other skills do you have besides speaking and writing? You could consider doing a master’s in mass media. What else interests you? Professional writing, journalism, anchoring, being a TV presenter, show host, newsreader, content writing, event management, social media marketing, public relations, law — you could do so much. Do spend some serious thought on what makes you most happy and what kind of work will give you joy and satisfaction. Make a list and try and narrow down your choices with where you would like to see yourself at 25.

I am a first year Bachelor of Media Management student and have completed my class XII in science. I am interested in literature, but my father wants me to become an officer. I like UPSC-related subjects, but I am not sure whether it is suitable for me as a career. I cannot decide if I should opt for UPSC, journalism or literature. — Rajesh Thaker

Dear Rajesh,

You are only in the first year, so you have time to soak into the BMM course and decide where you want to steer yourself, eventually. To take the UPSC exam also, you need to complete your graduation. So, don’t worry you have the next two years to decide where you are headed. Use these years wisely and look out for opportunities to dabble, enhance and showcase your skills in journalism and literature at college, events and the like, and see how you feel about it. Once you are in your final semester, you will hopefully know what your heart wants. Don’t stress yourself out making a choice that you don’t like just as yet.

I have completed my graduation from Delhi University and have started preparing for MBA entrance exams. I have attempted twice, but have not got a call from good B-Schools. On the other hand, I want to be an actor, but my family is not supportive of the idea, and they insist that I appear for the MBA entrance exams again. What do I do? — Ritanshu Vijay

Hi Ritanshu,

If not MBA, what else can you consider for your PG? What else are you doing whilst preparing for your entrance exams? Do you have any prior experience with acting? Theatre? MBA is not the end of the world. I can understand that your parents are apprehensive about you becoming an actor, perhaps, as there are a zillion good actors who are struggling every single day to get the right break. Maybe, they are just being protective of you. You could start with some part-time acting classes to feel good about yourself and learn the nuances of the art form. Acting lends a positive, healing, therapeutic venting ground where you would be able to share your deepest feelings and expressions in a safe, positive environment and with time, you would be able to be assertive with the family and also showcase your talent to them.

I am 24. I graduated in aeronautical engineering last year and want to become an IPS officer, for which I have to pass the UPSC exam. I am yet to start basic preparations for UPSC. How do I proceed? — Shyam Karthick

Hi Shyam,

How and what are your study habits? Are you taking any coaching classes for the same, or are you studying by yourself at home? If you are good at self-study, disciplined and consistent, you can clear these exams without any classroom coaching and support. Stay committed. The UPSC has provided a detailed syllabus for the civil services preliminary and main exam. Know the syllabus so as to choose relevant study materials and prioritise the subjects. Spend time to understand the exam pattern. Make a realistic time table and get organised. Break the portion into small, reachable goals. Get into the habit of reading the newspaper regularly, and get on top of current affairs.

Read books and watch video lectures online for subjects such as politics, history, geography, and so on. There is more than enough content available online. NCERT text books from class VI to XII play a significant role in UPSC Civil service exam preparation.

Choose a comfortable and favourite optional subject and devote time for it with relevant resources. Make short notes, solve and practice previous years question papers, have healthy group discussions with friends, especially those who are also preparing for the same exam. This will help you to expand your horizon. And finally, revise the short notes regularly. Last but not the least, don’t get stressed, but instead, enjoy the process. Make sure you are able to exercise regularly, eat healthy and get 7-8 hours of sleep.

Disclaimer: This column is not a substitute for long-term therapy. It is merely a guiding voice. Some issues may need medical intervention.

The writer is a practising counsellor and a trainer. She will answer questions sent to The subject line should be: ‘Off the edge’

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