One of the most significant difficulties that I have faced during my time as a student; was deciding which career path to pursue. I dreamt about every possible career path imaginable. Believed all were doable. Success was at the next corner. And all was well. But, as I came closer to the end of my bachelors, selecting a single path to tread on became increasingly difficult as well. I was in a dilemma. Some people stumble across the thing they are meant to do for the entirety of their lives. They find a career they love, a passion they can follow, a job that gives them joy. Those are the rare lucky ones. But, for some, like me, for whom every other career intriguing, all prospects exciting, who dream of being astronauts, architects, engineers, artists, scientists and celebrities all at the same time, for us making the ultimate choice is the hardest decision of all.
This is because we encounter difficulties matching our skillset with what we love and are passionate about. For most people, this is because they haven’t found their passion yet, they have trouble identifying their strengths, or because they can’t find a reliable link between them.
The cause of this prevailing predicament: lack of proper counselling. In Pakistan, there is an alarming absence of it. Students in the country don’t have easy access to working professionals who would be willing to mentor and guide at School and College level. This is because there are very few programs and that enable it, and most are reserved for the elite. There are very few ways to get career counselling at University level as well, mainly through sessions, workshops, and seminars. However, they are still not enough and in retrospect, a tad too late.
Career counselling is taken very lightly in our country. For a lot of students, the only counselling they get is a small bits of advice from their father, uncle, brothers or any other relatives. This drastically limits our prospects and possibilities. We are left unaware of all the opportunities that are available to us. When it comes to women, it is significantly worse. Majority of women in Pakistan never plan on having a career, and very few even manage to get higher education. That’s because of the notion that is persistently prevalent in our society.
“A woman is destined to be a homemaker”.
While I intend no offence to those women who dedicate their entire lives to their children and family; they are heroes, shapers of the next generation. But, that shouldn’t mean that a woman can’t have a career if she wishes to. We all should have the right to choose whichever path we take. This warrants that career and educational counselling is available to young girls from the beginning. So that all girls are made aware of the unlimited opportunities available to them.
Our country is full of talent. We are entering a new era. One with the dawn of digital transformation, of inclusion, and diversity. An age that will be owned by our children and by us. So this is our chance to ensure that we take necessary steps that will enable the dormant talent in our country’s youth to grow and nurture. Only with education, dedication, and hard work we can rise from the ashes. And I have strong hope that soon we will if we strive together to bring a new tomorrow, a different one, a better one.