The annual national entrance examination test (NEET) was conducted just days back. Like every year, thousands of aspirants participated with the hope of securing a seat in any medical college in the country. While the participating students are busy calculating their scores, parents are a worried lot. In our society exams like NEET are considered the make-or-break career choice for the students. Any talented and hardworking student is expected to become nothing but a doctor. All other career options are considered worthless.
In our society, parents nurture the career dream for their kids and unfortunately for most parents the only career option is Medicine. There is no doubt that as parents we invest a lot in our kids, financially, physically, and emotionally, but forcing our decisions on our kids could prove inutile or fruitless. As a parent we can guide our wards in making their career choices. However, we should not impose our decisions on them which not only limits their career choices but also puts them under tremendous pressure.
There will be only a small percentage of the aspirants who will crack the exam. That does not render the remaining lot useless, as our society would make them feel. NEET is not the end of the world and not qualifying NEET should not be considered a failure. There are ample career options available to choose from. Onus is on the parents to support their wards and guide them through.
As an aspirant if you have put in genuine effort and hard work, not qualifying the exam would obviously hurt you. Societal and parental pressure makes the situation worse. However, the exam also gives you a reality check. Be honest to yourself and analyse your capabilities and options. Unless you are convinced enough, do not repeat exams, waste academic years, and go through the mental trauma. You are going to make matters worse. However, if you understand your weak points, know how to improve upon these gaps and become better, then another try is worth it.
Please note these are your decisions. These can be made with the support of your parents, siblings, or teachers. However, do not force yourself to commit to something due to societal pressure. You are the best judge of your capability, not your neighbourhood uncle.
Parents need to understand that not qualifying a certain exam does not render their wards as failures. Stop calling them so. Stop comparing your kids with other kids. Every kid works as per his or her capability. Guide your kids in making their life decisions and shield them from the unnecessary scrutiny. Trust their hard work and respect their sacrifices.
Finally, let's change the narrative this time around. The story of endless mental trauma that goes after the results are out. Try to normalize the fact that there are endless career options. It may be hard to reconcile to the fact that your ward couldn’t be a doctor. Yes, we are wired like that. But let the destiny play its part. Let your child's hard work and perseverance decide their future.
So today, hold your child's hand and tell them “It's alright, we are here for you. NEET is not the end of the world!”
Durafshan Tariq is PG student, English literature