Choosing a path of learning is an integral part of a student’s life and a decision of paramount importance. However, the pressure of building a career from a very young age is a little too much for the young minds.
In the world we live in, changing career landscape may have presented children with a whole new set of opportunities, but it has also been a cause of distress. The process of choosing a career path is usually undertaken at quite a young age when students are not even fully aware of their interests. 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.
How does career building pressure affect the mental health of students?
The whole exercise of career building from a nascent stage adversely affects the young minds in the following ways:
- The fact that grades heavily influence the career stream students can or cannot opt for pressurises them to score well. As a result, 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 and hopelessness.
- Moreover, even if students are able to pursue their desired fields, half-way through they realise it’s not in sync with their interests and aptitude. They feel stuck, but due to the parental or societal pressure, they fail to speak about it which has a detrimental effect on their mind.
- Even if students are able to achieve their career dreams, the constant pressure that they face throughout their academic journey pushes them to the edge of depression and sometimes they are not able to enjoy the fruit of their success.
- Often, informing students about the importance of career building at a young age instils in them a fear of the future. Even if they may be performing well, feelings of self-doubt and insecurity are always there.
- Further, the pressure to perform well throughout the academic journey 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 even suicide.
Ways to handle the career building pressure:
We need to create conditions that inspire young minds to flourish by enabling them to build their confidence, resilience and grit.
- To normalise ‘not knowing’ is crucial. Children put immense pressure on themselves to know everything at every step. It’s okay to not know initially what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Finding a suitable career path takes quite a bit of introspection.
- Children should be encouraged to follow their dreams instead of being told what to do. This is where parents should step in. They should support their child and believe in their abilities. Parents should always be empathetic and open to their child’s perspective.
- Children often feel powerless when bombarded with career choices. The weight of having to make a decision that will shape the course of the rest of their lives can lead to anxiety. It is always better to seek professional help.
- Instead of pushing them towards a career path, children should be allowed to explore various fields. If they feel confused, career assessment tests can help gauge their interests, skills, values and personality they relate to, thereby helping them make an informed career decision. Students can use the test results to further formulate and clarify their career goals and direction.
- Students should be inspired to have a career action plan that helps them identify short-term and long-term goals. This will reduce unnecessary pressure as students will focus more on the current trajectory rather than on the results.
- From an early stage, the focus should be on building effective social and emotional competencies and capabilities of children so that they can overcome complex challenges and hurdles that life may throw at them.
To conclude, as academicians, parents and mentors, we should provide the best support to the young minds. The focus from an early stage should not be on career building but rather on developing essential life skills that will enable the young minds to learn to adapt and deal with the demands and challenges of life effectively.
Author: Kama Choudhary
Kama is an avid reader, an experienced content writer, a published academic author and an educator with experience in teaching Senior Secondary Classes. From conducting thorough research on industry-related topics to preparing well-structured drafts, Kama has been creating compelling content for the blog. In addition, she provides content for various marketing campaigns, writes press releases and develops and edits content for our web pages. She provides succinct content for our various advertisements and writes clear marketing copy to promote our products and services.