September 28, 2022

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Career choice pressure among students

6 min read

Learning is an integral part of a student’s life and a decision for choosing a career of foremost importance. Young adults shall help in decoding their current strengths, determining what skills they need to dwell upon, learning innovative ways to improve their performance, and guiding them to find purposeful careers.

However, the pressure of building a career from a very young age is high for young minds. While for some, the career choice is pre-decided by their parents, others often struggle to find the right career path, thereby going through a lot of pressure, stress, and chances of disturbed mental health. 

Students can choose another path, a path with an internal locus of control, a path with intention. Young people are living in a culture of competition and detachment, and it can feel like they do not have much control. Many parents consider career decision-making as the least of the priorities. In a survey, it was found that more than 93% of parents in India are not even aware of 8-10 career options. In India, there are one thousand universities and many graduation options available, many parents are not aware of the institutions. The outcome is students face difficulty in starting with the right career.

Some students prefer early planning which is the cornerstone of a successful career, preferably in the formative years. Young brains compound their confusion and thus, delay decision-making. Most students are confounded because they have taken up their career planning quite late.

“Marks in school don’t decide one’s future”

Students clearing boards face a great dilemma and the biggest question hounding is, Which career is right for me? Moreover, access to a college education can seem way out of reach for low-income, students, and those with less support and encouragement. Choosing the right college or university from thousands is the most challenging part for most of you. When the options are unbounded, many don’t even have any idea where to start. Choosing a career from several choices induces stress and anxiety in students. 


Planning for their career, early youngsters can explore their interests, and hobbies to the fullest and research possible jobs or businesses in a specific field.

Career Planning 

Career planning is a method of systematically matching career goals and individual capabilities with opportunities for their fulfilment.

It inspires individuals to explore and gather information, which enables them to syn­thesize, gain competencies, make decisions, set goals and take action.

Once you have chosen a career, plan strategically about the steps to accomplish your goal. Understanding and accomplishing your career goal will be a lot easier if you create a career plan. Do not adopt a single attitude, instead explore possibilities. Enhance and sharpen your language skills including English, communication skills, and general knowledge. 

Read newspapers 

Almost all essential details of competitive examinations get published in various newspapers. When you read these papers, have an eye toward education-related news. A particular interest in the specific career you may be interested in can selectively bring your attention to all the related information. 

Useful webinars 

Be aware of social media. Use it as a way to clear your doubts and explore options but make your decision based on your interest and capabilities. Usually, parents and students spend a lot of time on different social media platforms. However, when it comes to attending knowledge-sharing platforms, they back out. 


Role of a Career Counsellor 

Taking professional guidance is always helpful as you can explore all career opportunities along with unbiased advice from experts.

A career counsellor has a significant role in advising to plan students’ careers. A career counsellor is a qualified professional, a postgraduate in the field of Psychology. 

A career counsellor helps individuals of all ages plan for future professional and career-related academic success.

A career counsellor assists you with this process through individualized counselling, provides guidance, and can administer psychometric tests for your career.

How does Career Choosing Pressure affect the Mental Health of students?

“Students feel their parents never ask me what I want to do.”

The focus is on getting good grades instead of acquiring knowledge.

When students are not able to score well, they are overwhelmed with feelings of extreme sadness, disappointment, and hopelessness

“Support your child’s interests”

Moreover, even if students can pursue their desired fields, halfway through they realize it’s not in sync with their interests and aptitude. They feel stuck, and due to parental or societal pressure, they fail to speak about it which has a detrimental effect on their mind.

“They want to see me study Engineering, but I don’t want to, I want to go for management”

Even if students can achieve their career dreams, the constant pressure they face throughout their academic journey pushes them to the edge of depression, and sometimes they cannot enjoy the fruit of their success.

“Youths struggle to talk to their parents”

Even if a student may be performing well, feelings of self-doubt and insecurity are always there.

“Recognize the pressure placed on your child”

The pressure to perform well throughout the academic year to lay a strong foundation for a great career gives birth to anxiety in students and leads to eating disorders, depression, and in some cases ideation of suicide.


The constant peer pressure of performing well in their school board examination would further ensure their admissions to renowned colleges and compels the students to undergo a tremendous amount of stress.

Studies have shown that “two-thirds (66%) of students reported that their parents pressurize them for better academic performance and every day, many students commit suicide due to peer pressure ”.

The National Institute of Mental Health of Maryland, USA has highlighted the fact in a survey that “an estimated 31.9% of adolescents had an anxiety disorder. Of which, an estimated 8.3% had severe impairment” which career pressures a prominent factor for the same. 

By the time individuals get into colleges and institutions, they blend into a nature of constant competitiveness among their peer groups. Later the competition turns into a fear of falling out. Also, it generates a sense of isolation and loneliness in some cases as a result of peer pressure and inbuilt competitiveness.

    

The majority of the young adults attending college often tend to reduce their duration of sleep, to complete the given task, or to study for longer hours. However, neglecting sleep often tends to develop sleeping disorders such as insomnia, sleep paralysis, and anxiety attacks. High-paying jobs come with high pressure. 

Many employees even feel like quitting their jobs. Many job-oriented individuals seek psychological aid such as therapy and psychiatrist help when the career pressure is in full swing. 


Dealing with career pressure 

●   Adopt healthy food habits and a stable diet

●   Have a routine sleep pattern for coping with sleep disorders

●   Seek career guidance from counsellors

●   Take your good time to understand your interest in a particular field to avoid making hasty decisions

●   Divide your work into parts and fix a timetable to finish tasks 

●   Avoid overworking and procrastination

●   Try to communicate with your parents or guardians about your problems and doubts

●   Accept failures and have faith and believe in yourself

●   Learn to have adequate patience


Role of Parents

Parents play an important role in building a child’s career as they are the first teachers of their life. They must support and guide them to pursue their dream career by giving them wings to choose and make the right decisions without being forced to opt for a subject or a career.

–     Listen to a child’s interests and choices while making a career decision

–     Support and give them confidence 

–     Give your child space and freedom to explore new and learn

–     Teach them to accept failures

–     Help them build self-beliefs

–     Avoid Comparisons

–     Positive criticism is always good

–     Let them discover

–     Skills to be used in an effective and creative way

–     A career coach or career counsellor help can be taken

–     Counseling for both parents and child in making a better career decision is helpful

–     Mind time and money perspective

–     Mental peace is necessary

The focus should be on building effective social and emotional competencies and capabilities for children so that they can overcome complex challenges and hurdles that life may throw at them. 

From an early stage, the focus should not be only on career building but rather on developing essential life skills that will enable young minds to learn to adapt and deal with the demands and challenges of life effectively.

About the writer- 

Anamika is a Clinical Psychologist. She specializes in exceptional children and is an educational counsellor associated with NGOs. She also writes articles for wellbeingfinance.com 

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