When we look back at our mid-teen years, what memories do we have? For a lot of us, it was a time with not many responsibilities and an innocent view of life ahead. When I was 15 or 16, my biggest worry was how my favourite sports teams were doing, or how I could do as little homework as possible and still get a decent grade. A thought about my college or job aspirations never crossed my mind. That thought was still years down the line! But in India, it is of the utmost importance that our students have been thinking about their future by the time they end 10th Standard. The academic stream they select and the colleges they apply to this summer will affect their job opportunities down the line (even though they actually won’t start their careers for some time).
With this in mind, ALF is conducting our first College Counselling program for our graduating 10th standard girls. We have brought in a consultant, Lopa Gandhi, who is an expert in Mumbai colleges and has conducted workshops like this numerous times before. The beginning of our program consists of our students evaluating their learning styles, their personal and professional interests, and the reality of job opportunities here in India. After this, our students will be introduced to different colleges and will eventually be able to create a list of colleges that they want to apply to.
It’s been interesting to hear our girls share about their future at the beginning of our College Counselling program… we have one girl who aspires to be either a doctor or a fashion designer (maybe somehow those two fields are related). Also, a third of our students want to become doctors (including a couple of students who are, shall we say, not fond of science or maths).
Our college counselling course is still underway and proving quite helpful for students. Doing this has helped us understand that in order to develop women leaders, not only are the academics important, but there also needs to be a complete ecosystem that can help our students regardless of the life stage that they are in.