Dr. Byanjana Sharma
After all, an American self-help book author Oliver Napoleon Hill was right when he said, “No man can succeed in a line of endeavour which he does not like.” There are mainly three exit points during general stream schooling years in Nepal – at the end of grade 8, 10 and 12 respectively because students need to choose optional subjects in grades 9, 11 and after grade 12. At these points, they need career counselling at an extensive level which helps them to get an opportunity to study the subjects of their choice and excel in them.
As a career counsellor, I particularly encourage such students to identify their interests and abilities so that they can develop those interests into a career later. In the process of counselling, while some students ask really genuine questions and at the same time I have come across the strange queries which make me wonder if the students actually know what exactly is involved in career counselling. Let me describe some of their queries which do not fit within the scope of career counselling.
The most frequently asked question is, “I don’t want to study, what should I do?” Another, “I always think about girls, so I cannot concentrate on my studies, what should I do?” The third question comes, “What is the answer of this question (related to their course content)?” Similarly, “I always want to watch movies, what should I do?” The list of such questions goes on and on and it feels like the questioners misunderstand a career counsellor as a panacea who solves all sorts of problems just like that.
Available literature suggests that the main role of a career counsellor is to help students identify their interests, skills, talents and abilities and inform them about the career options presented to them. This helps students make informed decisions while choosing their areas of study which will eventually lead them to their future career.
In this way, the career counsellor guides students towards enhancing their self-understanding instead of offering instant answers. Furthermore, career counselling revolves around students’ strengths and their ability to take advantage of such strengths. As I mentioned, my focus is also on such things.
The questions posed above reflect negative mindset of a typical bunch of students which they may harbor from our cultural practice which focuses more on negative aspects than positive ones. Their queries also indicate the importance of career counselling at our schools. If the students knew about the essence of career counselling, they would never come up with such irrelevant questions in the first place.