The game was about to begin…

“An engineer, with superb mural designs all over the house”

“A dancer, with a feeling of remorse of not being provided opportunities by parents”

“A disgruntled doctor, with exceptional designer skills”

Is it about Money? Interest? Aptitude? Is it about your hobby?

These and many more such encounters echoed my ears, as I was engrossed into thinking about yet another “Career Guidance” session.

The stage was set for the play, where the actors were playing different roles, none which they loved or liked being a part of. And the curtain opened.

It was a bright sunny morning, and I was heading to another session on “Career Guidance”.

I was greeted by an enthusiastic class of 10th grade students. As soon as I entered the classroom, I heard children murmuring among themselves, laughing away with funny faces and expressions. I asked, “Yes children, do you want me to know something about you today?” The bright eyes of the children lit up and suddenly one of them quipped, Madam, please don’t talk about exams. Another one from behind said, we want to have some fun. And then everyone in unison nodded their head. As if it was to tell me, you are challenged to present yourself in an interesting way, rather than as a boring discourse on career guidance. It was a conscious effort to move away from portraying different career choices and looking within yourself, what can be sustained for the whole of your life.

The rigor of academics and the stress of approaching 10th Grade exams were clearly reflecting on their black board – “51 days to go”. The rigor of the exams and the monotony of rigorous schedule loomed large on the tensed faces of the children.

The game was about to begin. A game devoid of exams, looming tension and the aftermath of it.

And the big question popped up.

What would you like to do after 10th? With a big twist.  The only condition being – don’t answer just doctors, engineers, lawyers et al.  If not answering like this, then what else? This expression was largely seen on the confused faces. 

And then we had an interactive game of “Careers- An associative game. All of them were on their toes, thinking, pondering and trying to outsmart others in answering. Children, big or small, love to be in competition with each other. The classroom was booming with 35 different ideas, passions, and interests. Each student had learnt to identify what they love to do, what are their interests and how different is an interest from a passion. It was an approach different to asking the question “what would you like to do after 10th”.

Then the creative juices and abundant emotions started flowing.

What do each of us like doing?

And then the diverse areas mentioned were really exhaustive. Doodling, football, singing, drawing, voracious reading, sleeping, artworks, writing, talking, designing, cartooning, computers, planes, thinking about the planet, playing different sports to name a few.

“Doing those things which we don’t like to do“, or Role Reversal was another interesting phenomenon which the students undertook, where children reversed their interests to that of their classmates, and performed the tasks for 5 minutes without anybody’s help or support. An avid Maths lover, drawing Madhubani, an artist giving a 5-minute delivery on English language. The talkative person asked to be silent for some time, a writer is singing, and a singer is writing a story, a voracious reader performing a dance number.  The emotions running through the mind were put up to discussion and highlighted the need to enjoy what we do. It was a roller coaster activity for children but conveyed the idea behind it.

One thing led to the other and now, we climbed up the ladder to identify if passion and interest are same.

What is passion?

One from the farthest corner of the room, answered. “Passion is when you start thinking about what you enjoy in each and every situation of your day”. And we coined a new word at the spur of the moment and called it “Passion Bit”. Madam, can you tell us your passion bit? It was a bolt in the blue.  I answered, Looking around to create games and activities in everyday situation, day in and day out, is my passion bit, as I am a trainer and facilitator. And we had another round of game on. This time each student took turns and described their passion bits. Some were able to answer, whereas others needed more time. As a facilitator, it is important to realize when the class is silent, is it because they don’t know what to do or is it because they are thinking. This one was definitely the latter.

Diverse interests, passion bits, thinking classroom. The class ended on a positive note, with each of them promising that before taking any decisions they will take into consideration the key points, all of which they had internalized through purposeful games and interactions. As if it was a social contract among themselves.

  1. What do they love doing?
  2. What are their interests?
  3. Do they really have aptitude to do it?
  4. Look around
  5. Look within
  6. Research, Consult, Experience the real world
  7. Jump in

It was not about different professions, but more about openness to think.

The students were cheerful. And now came the time to bid goodbye. Students were excited to return home with this new approach of thinking about their strengths. As one of the students opined in the class, “They are super charged knowing that it is not just about exams now”. It is much more than just Maths, English or Science. We have to decide what our passion is and given a chance can we sail through it all our lives.

It is all in the mind. The game begins in the mind and it is time to make the children think and look, beyond the visible professions and into your interests. The structured aptitude tests can wait until then.

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