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.
Becoming an army officer is my dream. I am now pursuing science in class XII (PCM). I am confused about how I should proceed, after class XII. Please help. – Dariya Singh Yadav

Dear Dariya,

To become an officer in the Indian Army, you first need to join National Defence Academy (NDA) or Combine Defence Services (CDS). For this, you must appear in the NDA entrance exam conducted by Union Public Service Commission, New Delhi, which is held twice a year. The age limit is the first eligibility criteria that candidates match with their details. The date of birth range is 16 ½ to 19 ½ for the NDA exam. All the best to you.

I am Kavya, studying in class XII, and am interested in pursuing a course in interior designing. However, the course is costly and my family cannot afford the expenses involved. So, as an alternative, I am considering pursuing architecture, as this too involves designing and drawing. What do I do to get into an architecture course, like B.Arch? – Kavya Tirumani

Dear Kavya,

Architects and interior designers are professionals who develop design plans. The primary difference between them centers on what they design. Architects design buildings, while interior designers use furniture, fixtures and other accessories, to create a desired look and function for spaces inside a building.

You will need to take NATA (National Aptitude Test in Architecture) exam for pursuing B.Arch. Eligibility in most of the top universities is pass with 60% aggregate marks in 10+2 (with English and math) or diploma (any stream) (three years) recognised by Central/ State Govt. (with math), subject to qualifying marks, as per NATA 2019 or qualifying marks in any specially designed aptitude test in architecture conducted by the competent authority of the Central/ State Governments (as/ if allowed by statutory body for 2019-20), for instance, JEE (Main) Paper II. So, get cracking for the entrance exams now.

I have just completed my graduation in mass communication and journalism. Since it was a government college, I could not get the kind of exposure that mass communication students from private universities get. As and when I figured out that I was interested in advertising and PR, I was determined to pursue it from a better mass communication university such as Xaviers, IIMC or MICA. Having done no preparation in my last semester, I decided to take a break till March, this year, and gain some practical experience by venturing into different internships or jobs, that would help me in my long-term career. I have been reading news and novels, and have constantly been working to improve my language skills, that are much required to clear the entrance tests. Can you please tell me which field I can venture into, that would help me in my advertising career and entrance tests? – Muskan Dhingra

Dear Muskan,

I think you are on the right track. Doing a master’s in mass communication, from a reputed university, will set you up strongly for a good campus placement or a renowned media house to intern with initially, and get absorbed into, eventually. Where did you do your internship and how was the experience?

Each of the universities that you have mentioned are excellent for this course, and also have their own entrance exams, cut-off dates and eligibility criteria. So, check that out and take the entrance exams. I don’t know your particular strength/s, Muskan, and so it is not appropriate for me to tell you which field to venture into. Having said that, mass media is an umbrella term, and by your first year into the master’s course, you will know what your calling is. You can be a media planner, a multimedia specialist, a program researcher for radio/tv/film, a public relations officer, a web content, social media manager, tv/ film producer, a news anchor and so on. Take your time and develop your skill sets; there is no rush. Good luck to you.

I am 19 and am currently pursuing my B.A. history in Chennai. I am in a dilemma about whether to pursue master’s, or prepare for the UPSC, as my sole aim is to become an IFS officer. Recently, I had the opportunity of attending a lecture at a college where the speaker emphasised about the importance of studying international relations. Is there any master’s degree in international relations, in India? I am aware that I will have to study foreign relations in UPSC. Please help. – Adhitiya Kaarthikheyan

Dear Adhitiya,

Jawaharlal Nehru University,Delhi University, Christ University and some other premier institutions in the country offer a master’s in international relations. So a good idea might be to do your masters like you planned and also sign up to a reputed IAS coaching center for the UPSC exam preparations. You are already eligible for the Preliminary UPSC exam.

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 The subject line should be: ‘Off the edge’

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