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 by Nandini Raman, practising counsellor and trainer, to assuage your doubts.

I am a 23-year-old math graduate. I joined a reputed institution for a master’s degree. Unfortunately, I got many arrears and couldn’t complete the course. I have always wanted to become a teacher, but I don’t want to spend two more years studying for B.Ed. So, though I am not interested, I have joined a bank coaching class thinking that I will get a job soon. What should I do? – Arathi

Hi Arathi,

There are unfortunately no short cuts to being successful in life. If you always wanted to be a teacher why don’t you invest the next two years in completing your B.Ed. instead of attempting bank exams? It is a small price to pay for the overall satisfaction you will receive, for the next four decades. A bank role will get you a job for sure, but I am not sure if it will be your career choice, one that is driven by passion.

I am 22 and am preparing for the UPSC exam this year. However, as this is my fist attempt, I am not confident. When I spoke about this at home, my parents suggested I write other exams as back-up. They told me that if I got any other job, I could work and simultaneously prepare for the UPSC. There are some financial issues in my house and my parents are worried about my future. But, I want to focus only on the UPSC and am not interested in any other job. I don’t know what to do and I am confused with my decisions. – Bhagya KS

I understand that you might need to start earning immediately due to your family’s financial constraints. Also, you clearly say that you are not confident of cracking the exam this time — maybe the practice and studying has not been sufficient? We still don’t know for certain what the scores will read, post the exam. Luck plays a very significant role in these common entrance exams as well. Give it your best shot. In case you don’t, maybe it would be a good idea to start looking for a job in the field of your interest, to get some financial stability to the family. Be careful to not take on something that takes all your time and energy, so that you have the time and space with it, to keep preparing for the UPSC.

I am 19, and am pursuing my B.A in English literature. I wanted to pursue a B.A in visual arts, but since the course wasn’t available anywhere nearby, and since my parents weren’t ready to send me away from home, I opted for literature. But, I’m not happy with this course. The main problem I face is that I’m interested in photography and that is the reason I wanted to pursue a B.A in visual communication. Now, at times, I feel I am not cut out for it, and nothing in literature interests me. I write poems but I am not confident about them. I want to discover my hidden talent and pursue it as a career. – Shahnaz Majeed

Dear Shahnaz,

I feel you compromised with your choice of academic subjects and now you feel trapped. I guess, with your parents having made the decision of your course, you now have no other option but to complete your B.A in English. Why don’t you enrol in a photography course either as a hobby, a certificate or a diploma course? I am not sure where you are based and so I am not able to provide you with specific information, but there are many reputed courses available, if you check online. If you still feel overwhelmed, upset and uncertain, please meet a career counsellor and get your career profiling done. It will identify specific core areas of your interest and aptitude for you.

I am 15 and have just started class X. l aspire to become a graphic designer, but I don’t have any basic knowledge about this career and am confused about which group to opt for in class XI, to pursue a career as a graphic designer. – Sruthi Venugopal

Dear Sruthi,

What do you like about being a graphic designer? Where is the interest and passion coming from? Please speak to more people who are in the field who can tell you more about what it exactly entails. I hope you love and enjoy designing. Opting for pure sciences with computer science (computer graphics, web designing, language programming) and art (drawing skills, painting, photography, printing) will provide you with a strong foundation. Research online and read the graphic designing course syllabus across colleges and universities so that you get a fair idea of what to expect from this course.

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

The author is a practising counsellor and a trainer. She will answer questions sent to

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