WHY SHOULD YOU GO FOR CAREER COUNSELLING ?

Hello Parents ! during the last few months, we at  My BIG Leap have had the opportunity to interact with several parents. Amidst all the excitement of preparation, exams and results we could distinctly sense a lurking anxiety that parents had with respect to their children’s future and the impending decisions that they need to make. Needless to say, there is no parent who would like to make either a wrong decision or overlook/miss an opportunity that could set up their child on the best career path.

career-counselling1The fact of the matter is, today, unlike in our generation, there are a lot many career avenues that our children can choose from and in fact start to pursue them while still in high school. We understand that it’s the day and age of specializations and super specializations and whether you are a parent of an 8th grader or 12th grader or a graduate it is indeed an overwhelming task to choose the right career path. As much as peer pressure and competition between students has increased exponentially since our times, education sector has also made progress by leaps and bounds. Now, we have well-informed professionals aka career counsellors who not only can guide you to make these decisions but also work hand in hand to materialize the decisions made – be it mentoring and motivating the students to prepare for an examination or guiding the parent on application procedure or even financial planning.

Through our various interactions with a cross-section of parents, we have noted that there are a lot of reservations that parents today still have in seeking help of career counsellors. We have therefore picked the top 5 myths that parents commonly have with regards to seeking career advice and made an earnest attempt to respond to them.

pic2
MYTH 1 : “Career counselling is for weak students”

My BIG Leap response in busting MYTH 1: NO. Career counselling is for students with smart parents. A career counsellor can sensitize you of the current and upcoming trends and broaden your horizons about gamut of career options available today that did not even exist at our times. Social Media Marketing, PR Management, Social Impact Investing, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science – are now the most sought after and lucrative career options. A smart parent would be best informed of the latest and be sure that their child makes a decision that has a promising long-term future.

pic3
MYTH 2 : “Who else but me knows what my child is good at? After all I have seen him/her so closely over years”

 

My BIG Leap’s response in busting MYTH 2 : Would it not be a wise thing to do if you adopt a proven scientific approach to validate your understanding of your child’s innate talents and abilities and make decisions based on them? Are you willing to overlook the fact that he/she will really shine and be at the top of the game if they pick a profession that he/she is cut out for? We help you go through a holistic evaluation of child’s aptitude, skills and strengths as well as weakness and strongly advocate you to make decisions based on them.

 

 

pic4
MYTH 3 : “I know the options available for my child and of course I can figure out the path forward”

My BIG Leap’s response in busting MYTH 3 :  Sure you may! How about having a professional you who has a prior experience of working with several students being your guide and working alongside you? How about having a professional who makes a systematic plan on the path forward right from identifying the right college/course/examination and even chalk out the exam preparation strategies for your child? And what about contingency planning? We meet so many parents and students who are lost on the way when Plan A doesn’t work out. We help you make a well thought out backup plan so that there is no scope of error!

 

 

 

 

pic5
MYTH 4 : “My child and I can never agree on such an important decision”

My BIG Leap’s response in busting MYTH 4: Your child may come up with choices that seem weird or radical and not so concrete to you. We as professionals and career counsellors have comprehensive knowledge about where the world is moving and can objectively evaluate, bridge the gap and help converge your views and arrive at a decision taking at the intersection of what your child’s interests are and where the growth and opportunities are.

 

pic9
MYTH 5 : “We have already made a decision and now there is no looking back”

 

My BIG Leap’s response in busting MYTH 5: All of us as individuals and parents would have made some really good and some not so good decisions in our lives. Isn’t it just human to err? If you feel you have missed the bus and taken an incorrect decision in the past, a career counsellor is THE person with whom you must have a detailed discussion to course correct and make it up going forward.

 

There is no taking away from the fact that the decisions you and your child make at certain critical junctures go a long way in shaping careers and in turn their lives. To understand strengths and weakness and make a right choice of career path aligned to them early on in life, will certainly give the child a head start. We at My BIG Leap take great pleasure and pride in bringing a gamut of career related professional services to you, however with a personal touch. Its our two-fold goal to chalk out a personalized career track and help walk the path that is just right FOR YOUR CHILD. For more details please visit our website http://www.mybigleap.in/ our FB page https://www.facebook.com/careeradviceatmybigleap.in/

From Un-questioning Learners to Thinkers/ Innovators

History has established beyond doubt that ‘Education is the most powerful weapon one can have to change the world’. Education – in its true sense will determine the future of the country. In this light, our schools and education system bear a huge responsibility in shaping  India’s future. Needless to say –  overall curriculum that we impart to children has to constantly evolve to make the young India future ready.

caterpillars-metamorphosis-to-butterfly-chaellas-wordpress-com-quote

a

We at My Big Leap appreciate the ministry of HRD – Government of India in recognizing this need of evolving the NCERT/CBSE school curriculum and for soliciting suggestions from all stakeholders – teachers, parents, academicians and students alike to gather different perspectives and to get a holistic view for the first time ever.

India is soon to become the youngest country in the world by 2020. One needs to ponder why do we have too many graduates and too few to employ? Even within the employed, why are Indians topping charts of the number of people employed in one industry than the other?  In our view, it is the current school curriculum that is responsible by being solely focused on only building cognitive, analytical abilities of students. We hence make the below set of suggestions to the ministry of HRD to enable all-round development of children across regions and socio-economic strata.

20160317041532_171988865

Soft Skills-

Communication skills:  The lack of ability of  an individual to deliver his or her views leads to the rejection of a brightest of the minds in an interview. One cannot emphasize enough the role of good oral and written communication skills can have to a successful professional life. Language and communication skills are developed over a period and the first step would be to cultivate reading habit right from a young age. Every school should have a library and in far-off areas, government can work through having community library affiliations to have access to books and other good reading material. Additionally, establishing literary clubs, encouraging and class room discussions on current affairs will help them develop a point of view and provide ample opportunities to communicate and express their ideas. Written essays, debates and elocution should be made part of the teaching curriculum and should be mandatory for all.

Team work: To be a good team player, acceptance of different points of view and decision making through consensus is undisputedly the most important skill the work environment demands today. Group activities and projects right from an early age will groom them to develop these essential skills.

innovation-imperative-100694176-large

Experiential Learning-

Isn’t it high time to elevate our students from being ‘un-questioning’ learners to being thinkers and innovators? We believe hands on activities and experiential learning will develop love for learning in young children and research proves that subjects such as science and mathematics are best taught this way. A variety of hands on activities should be included and learning should shift to have application orientation from being theoretical and rote-based. Lab work should be introduced as early as primary school and text books should list simple activities that encourage children to find applications to learnt concepts in the world around them.

Moral, values and work ethics-

One cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good teacher and the lasting impact they can have in development of a student’s overall personality. Teachers can adopt audio visual aids to teach morals, to instill right ethics, and groom the children to have high morals and good values, all of which can be effectively taught through stories from our rich mythology and heritage. Students must be supported and encouraged to practice what is preached and we believe that this will be strong foundation for a harmonious and progressive India.

Social Responsibility-

 Children must be encouraged to actively take part in social initiatives such as ‘Swach Bharat’ to inculcate a sense of belonging, responsibility and pride for one’s country. Similarly, there can be a buddy system introduced at school level wherein, we encourage the culture of senior grade children helping the juniors in academics encourage camaraderie and brotherhood.

OB-WB351_iselfd_G_20130121012458

Sports and Physical Activity-

Physical education has a great role to play in the personality development of children through sport activities. It not only has innumerable health benefits but it is also an effective tool in grooming their social behavior, reduce stress and will go a long way in building their self-confidence and self-esteem. Needless to say, basic self-defense skills should be made mandatory for all.

Life skills-

 There are a gamut of life skills that can be taught during different stages of schooling that can prove to be assets to children in the long run – most essential of them being ‘good decision making’. Life skills range from concrete skills like money management, medical first aid to skills as basic as cooking, public and personal hygiene to skills that are completely overlooked and under rated such as typing using a keyboard that can positively improve one’s efficiency at work place .

keep-calm-change-can-be-good

All the suggestions we have listed are infact measurable and quantifiable. Integrating the score on academic performance with the performance on the described skills based education is imperative to the success of the implementation of these suggestions. Under graduate schools should make the integrated score as the primary criterion for admissions. We at My Big Leap believe that holistic education will groom children to have a well-rounded personality and Career guidance and Counselling will give the right impetus to make informed career decisions and help them lead successful & fulfilling professional careers.

(All the images are courtesy Internet)

Exams- To stress or no to stress?

Our pre-occupation with textbooks is probably a pointer to our obsession with the finishing line – EXAMS – rather than focusing on the process of learning!

The routine school examinations, more often than not, evaluate a child’s capacity to learn by rote, and reproduce, on a particular day. Clearly this evaluation process allows very little degree of freedom to the child’s individuality and analytical capacity. The evaluation methodology seems to be geared up more towards making the system simple for teachers rather than assessing the true abilities and potential of a child. This is where all the stress and anxiety related to exams starts building up.

            “Education is not the filling of a bucket, but rather the lighting of a fire”

                                                                                    – William Butler Yeats

It is this fire that we need to keep alive and give fuel to, such that it intensifies. After having put the role of examinations into perspective, let’s look at how we can support our kids during these taxing times and what can we do to deal with exam stress?

121

(Image courtesy- Internet)

I feel the most important thing that parents can do is to not add to the whole stress that the child is already dealing with during exams. No child takes exams lightly whether he has studied all through the year or is a last minute runner. So, if parents play the role of supporters then it won’t add to the overall anxiety for children.

Below are some actionable items that the parents and children may find handy to deal with the tension

  1. Eat well and eat right– Children’s appetite goes really down during exam times. But to be able to perform well and to their optimum, they need to energize the body with right nutrients. Though sugar and junk food really tickle our taste buds and give instant energy, but they can really leave one feeling negative and can interfere with the exam preparation. Parents can really take up this front and design a tasty yet healthy meal interspersed with lots of fruits and nuts in between.

water-helps-students-blog

(Image courtesy- Internet)

  1. Water is your best friend– We all must ensure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Students taking exams must aim for at least 8 glasses of water per day. Not drinking enough water can make them feel sluggish and stressed and negatively affect the efficiency of the brain.
  2. Manage your time wisely-Students must not just cram for an exam at the last minute, this will surely lead to exam stress. Work backwards starting from the exam date and make a time-table. Break your course into manageable parts and assign dates by which you can finish studying/revising a subject. This will reduce the unnecessary pressure that mounts up towards the beginning of exams.
  3. Take breaks– According to psychological studies, the average human brain can only focus on a task effectively for about 45 minutes. In addition, research in neurosciences suggests that focusing on the same task for too long diminishes the brain’s ability to accurately process it. Hence, taking breaks and rejuvenating yourself is very important. It could be going for a swim, a walk in the fresh air, playing any racquet sport, listening to music or hitting the gym. But do remember, taking a break should result in you feeling refreshed mentally.
  4. Stay away from mobiles and social media– Some children might say that indulging in Whatsapp, Facebook, YouTube etc during a break refreshes them. But unfortunately, that isn’t true! Studies suggest that all these activities invariably leave the brain stressed, exhausted and sluggish. Parents should gently encourage students to consider pre-exam and exam time as a gadget – detox time.

images

(Image courtesy- Internet)

  1. Sleep well– The virtues of a good night’s sleep during exam season should not be underestimated. A relaxed mind will think better and perform better. To be able to score well in exams, it’s very important that the child is mentally relaxed and only then will he be able to focus 100%. Last minute cramming never helps. Even if the student hasn’t been able to cover the entire syllabus, panicking will only worsen the situation. He may get nervous and forget the rest 80% syllabus that he would have prepared thoroughly. There are studies to indicate that if you overload the brain with too much information in too short a span of time, it is likely to end up confused and not function optimally.
  2. Meditate or do yoga/light exercises– This lets the mind focus and calm down. Deep breathing techniques or listening to instrumental music also help alleviate stress.
  3. Speak to someone- If, as a student undertaking exam, your stress gets to a point where it is overwhelming, and is affecting your day-to-day life, try and speak to someone about it. You can speak to your favorite teacher, school counselor, a family member, a friend about the pressure you feel. You’ll be amazed to know that you aren’t alone in feeling like this.

853642003201.PT06_1024x(Image courtesy- Internet)

  1. Spend quality time together as a family – An evening before the exam, parents must endeavor to relax or calm the child, rather than adding to the stress of unfinished syllabus, if any. Parents can consider making few hours prior to the exam light-hearted using various techniques e.g. playing a board game as a family, having dinner together, encouraging them to read a light book, go for a swim, or simply listen to soothing music. This might appear contrary to the popular belief, but trust me this works! The idea is that the child should be mentally relaxed and feel cared for. She must understand that his family is there to support her, no matter what. This will boost her confidence and self-belief.

As parents and society at large, we should really focus on creating sufficient interest and curiosity in our children such that they, on their volition, pick up books to learn, to explore, to wonder, to question, to experiment, to analyze, and to create; not just to pass their exams or score well. Have you ever wondered as to how important the exam you took in class 10th was now that you have come this far in life? Look at the bigger picture of life and see the relevance of results of Class 8th, 9th, 10th etc for yourself. While we cannot undermine the need of these exams but we also shouldn’t give them so much importance in our lives that they become the sole objective for our children’s lives! So, parents and children take a deep breath and enjoy the process rather than making it a war to be won.