During one of his numerous bus journeys back home while being a student at NUST, one of our team members sat next sat to 15-year-old boy named Ahmed. The boy hardly stopped talking during the journey, explaining everything from why the sky was blue, why witches wore pointy hats and how JRR Tolkien got inspired to write The Hobbit. His passionate explanation, our colleague related, gave away his love for the fantasy world as well as reading, which was exactly what Ahmed said he wanted to explore further as a career.
While Ahmed must now likely be on his way to living his life among the books, a majority of students in Pakistan have no clue of what they are studying and why they are studying it. Usually, the choices students make boil down to either “my parents wanted me to be so and so” or “this field provides better monetary rewards as a career”.
While listening to your parents is all right most of the times, students must pursue a field of study that they are really interested in, instead of one that potentially lands a better job, in order to make the most out of their education.
Not sure how to gauge what you really want? Do not worry. Consider the points below that may well help you decide what you want in life, and then pursue a relevant degree or course.
Take A Gap Year
Remember the toy cars that have a pull-back action. Sometimes you have to take a step back if you really want to go far. Taking some time off can really help you relax and offer you time to introspect. It is quite difficult to make a decision about your future when you are in the midst of juggling exams, coursework, applications and so on. You can use the gap year to reflect on your interests and likes, and what career or educational choices you can make to bring them in sync with your career. To understand the effectiveness of taking some time off, here are 6 reasons you should take a gap year before university to make your decision-making process a little less troublesome.
Explore Free Online Courses
You can increase your knowledge of various courses or gauge your interest in certain fields by taking free online courses. Many international universities are now using online software like iTunes-U to upload podcasts, talks and lectures, which can be downloaded free of charge. You can engage with these free resources to see if the content and coursework interests you, or if you would like to study the discipline further and make a living out of it.
Take A Short Course Or Evening Classes
Various universities and institutions offer a number of short courses related to a wide range of subjects that are easy to get enrolled in without any particular academic requirements. Get involved with computer or graphic design courses, SEO or digital marketing workshops and vocational diplomas etc to ascertain where your interests lie. Subjects that may seem appealing from far away may put you off once you get a closer look and vice versa. So it is far better to know what you are getting yourself into right from the start, rather than ruing midway and wasting precious resources.
Read Up On Your Course Of Study
Before making a decision, spend some time in a library to get acquainted with books about the course or degree you plan to pursue, and see whether you feel inclined towards the content or knowledge that provides. You could even check out the semester-wise course load and course material that many universities now publicize in detail to see what kind of study path you are looking ahead. A word of advice: do not be put off by the volume of course work or the size of the books! No amount of reading would be hard or no book too heavy if you have a personal interest in the subject or coursework. Fact Check: If you are not interested, even an average newspaper column becomes too much to go through.
Attend University Fairs/Open Houses
Another way of getting the feel of a course or a degree programme and whether you would like it or not is to attend open houses and seminars most universities conduct right before the admissions season. These events would provide you an opportunity to not only visit university campuses in person, but also allow you to interact with university officials who you can talk to about issues that concern or would have an effect on your educational decisions. You may even get a chance to talk to existing students who can answer your queries about the coursework and academic environment on a more personal level.
There. We reckon you are certainly more informed than before about how to go about finding your heart’s true calling when it comes to studies. We have provided you with the arsenal, now it’s up to you make use of the advice to your advantage.
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