Career talk for incoming college students

Every year, I think most high schools conduct a career exploration/talk series every July for senior students who will be applying for college. The career exploration event intends to help them have a clear mind on what course to take, jobs awaiting them etc.

For my alma mater, Elizabeth Seton School-South (ESS) in Imus, Cavite, this career exploration is a week-long event. Various alumni of ESS give their talk and insights about college and career. Last July 2011, I was invited to give a talk about college life and real-world work experience in the industry.

I was still employed in my first company, Perimeter E-Security (known as Silversky now) during that time. My presentation can be found here: Career Talk slides.

My goal that day was to make students realize that choosing a course must be taken with a thorough analysis rather haphazardly. I realized that there are still many instances where it’s the parents who decide for their children. For instance, my thesis mate who wanted to take Com Arts ended up taking Com Sci because his father wanted him to take a technical course. Otherwise, his dad won’t allow him to go to college.

Other students choose a particular school because of its prestige. A lot of students will limit their choices to the so-called “Top Schools.” Some other students will take a trending course like Nursing, for instance.

I realized also that a good number of students still don’t know which course to take and they end up choosing some course they are not really sure they want.

career_formula

I emphasized 3 key important aspects when choosing a course:

  1. Desire — So you are planning to take Nursing for example. Are you good in assisting and servicing other people? Or are you the type who is shy and a person who doesn’t want to interact with people? Desire is important because it will be your motivation to fulfill your course. If you are into helping people as a profession, then Nursing can be for you.
  2. Ability — You want to take up Architecture. You really want to design and create patterns etc. You need to understand that you must have the “hands” for Architecture. You have to be keen, meticulous and detailed when doing your designs. In short, you need to have these minimum abilities in order for you to have a free-flowing journey in finishing your course.
  3. Practicality — So, you want to take Culinary Arts in college. You have the Desire and Ability to cook and experiment on creating your dishes. That’s good. You’re planning to go to College of St. Benilde (CSB) because it’s known for their Culinary Arts program. However, your family cannot afford a 100,000php tuition and fees (excluding materials) per trimester to sustain your stay there. So what will you do? The best decision might be to look for another school that offers the course with a more affordable tuition and fees.

The scenarios above are hypothetical. I believe that these components are very helpful in determining which course to take. These components have to be balanced.

I do not fully agree that a student must limit himself/herself to Top Schools that they say, such as UP, Ateneo, La Salle and UST. There are a lot of schools out there that provide quality education as well. I won’t agree that successful people only come from those “top schools.” I think that due to massive advertising and marketing, these schools are very much overrated.

I’ve met and made friends at work who are very smart and skilled who graduated from universities in the province. They are so down-to-earth but a subject matter expert (SME) in our field. So, although it’s good to aim for schools in Manila, I can say that there are good schools found in other places in the Philippines.

My point is, it boils down to how the person develops himself/herself. The school may be a key, but the choice and decision to do best is up to the person.

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