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How To Decide On Your Major?​

How To Decide On Your Major?

Choosing what to major in can be confusing. You think you like Social Sciences, but computers fascinate you a lot. You have numerous interests, and this whole process seems confusing. The first thing that you need to do is relax as this is entirely natural! When choosing a major, you need to consider various factors, including your interest, strengths, personality, skillset and intended profession to fit in nicely in the program and subsequently, in your intended career. Now, you’d have already listened to a lot of, ‘Do what you’re most interested in’, but how do you find where your interest lies when you don’t even have the slightest clue?

🤔 Take a moment to reflect:

Before seeking guidance from others, your first step should be questioning yourself and bridging your past to your present. Think about how you have evolved as a person, what were your interests as a child, and then as a teenager. Question yourself: What you’re good at, what makes you happy, what makes you stand out amongst others? Make a checklist and you’ll most likely notice a recurrent theme, and that could be where your interest lies. Then research the subject to see if you’d like to do that in the long run; if it has enough opportunities in your country, and you’re eager to learn more about that field, you could proceed.

One common misconception is to choose a major through which you can make the most money, irrespective of your passion. But instead, select a major where your interest lies because if you are passionate about something, you’ll try your best to excel in the field and eventually, you’ll earn well. Remember to examine and evaluate your inner self, which means to look for the subjects that resonate with you and research more about them.

🤝 Connect with people

After reconnecting with yourself, discuss your evaluation with experienced individuals. Choosing a major is one crucial decision that affects your personal and professional life. Firstly, consult professional counsellors/teachers. By briefing them about your personality, discuss and get more information about your chosen major and if that complements your character and possible career path in the long run. Instead of negating their suggestions, take them as sincere and essential advice. Finally, discuss it with your parents since a family knows their children best. They’re familiar with what you’re good at, your skill set, your weaknesses, and on top of that, their affirmation makes your decision wholesome. But know, you can’t just have someone decide your major for you; everyone will choose what they’d like to do, so ultimately, it’s your choice. However, after consultation, you’ll feel content and supported, and you’ll be good to go with your chosen major – giving more clarity to the vague picture.

😀 Be flexible with outcomes.

We all know identifying your interest and choosing a major is time-consuming and crucial. It might be all you are expecting, but it can also be all that you weren’t expecting. So you should have an optimistic approach about the future and be aware that you’ll have to tackle unfamiliar obstacles. Only then will your journey be more enjoyable and exciting. Also, keep in mind that your answer may not always be in what interests you, so be sure to explore all options. Simply said, interest is what you enjoy, but your career path, and hence your major, can be different, and there’s no harm in that as long as it is something you’re willing to explore and learn about.

💡 Conclusion

It’s complicated to choose a major, but you have to decide responsibly as this will affect both, your personal and professional lives. We know that it takes time and effort, and you may occasionally feel frustrated or perplexed, but you should hang on there and see the results. We suggest not to worry much about making a perfect choice when you’re just 18 or 19; instead, focus on what makes you happy. Researching various majors is vital because it’s likely that more than one major will catch your attention. The key is to research more and more to figure out if that major could lead you to a realistic and competitive career that’ll eventually give you a sense of fulfilment. Even if you don’t end up working in the position you had in mind, you should be prepared to work in a different position within the same field. For instance, you’ll be doing a bachelor’s in accounting and finance because you like to study accounts or finance; however, you could end up somewhere in a marketing/business field. If you’d searched well, you’d have no difficulty taking up the task because you’re already familiar with its scope. So think hard and logically to identify a major you’re passionate about!

Moving Out For The First Time

Moving Out For The First Time

Although just a residential facility allowing students to continue higher education, a hostel is a student’s temporary home. In Pakistan, hostels play an essential role in student’s educational journey and provide a platform for students from different backgrounds and cultures to come together and make memories worth a lifetime. While college/university teaches you the theory of a syllabus, a hostel is what plays an essential role in your character building and teaches you how to live independently. With all the constructive discussions that construe within its hallways, it becomes the fount for new ideas and inspirations for these future graduates. Living in a hostel has drawbacks and challenges despite being a prop for student growth.

🙌 What to Expect as a Hostelite & How to Deal with it

😁 Ragging, Friends and a Suffering Work Schedule

It may sound antagonistic towards hostels, but it’s the bitter truth that undergraduate students may suffer ragging from their seniors. While it may be annoying in most cases, it can even vitiate the learning atmosphere and may negatively affect the victim, like depression and demoralisation. This ultimately leads to constant fear and tension in every student’s mind. Despite how scary this might look, be assured that ragging is just another social situation where a bunch of strangers, who do not necessarily have anything against you, attempt to prove their superiority to you and their peers. You can let them have their way as long as it is not insulting or humiliating for you and if you think it’s too much, be tactful; try to be as polite as possible and leave the scene. Also, know that you and your batch-fellows are in this together, and this too shall pass. It helps if you just take it as light activity, although it can be humiliating.

Coming to batch-fellows, we know that a person is judged by the company he keeps. Choosing the right social circle of sincere friends is a big challenge for every student. A bad company can influence you greatly and lead you astray, getting you involved in unappreciated activities like smoking or drugs and negatively affecting your studies and personality. But the reality is, it is up to you to decide your company. Although at first, you won’t be able to judge the nature and habits of the students you interact with, you will be well aware of the types of people around you as time goes by. This will be the moment for you to choose wisely, and this may seem weird or uncool, but it will help you avoid adversely affecting your studies, personality and time.  So, be on good terms with everyone at the start and then judge who you want to spend your time with.

With your friends by your side, another undeniable reality of hostel life is that you are free to do things with no parental authority constantly keeping you in check. This is why you may start lacking a proper routine. This problem will have harmful effects on your education, personality, and especially, your health. By not having a routine, you won’t meet assignment or work deadlines and waste time in enjoyment and merry-making. You probably even develop the habit of being awake all night and sleeping all day. This way, as much as your academic and social life takes a hit, your lack of punctuality in eating and sleeping will make you lazy. This will hinder your cognitive function and won’t allow your body to function correctly. Ultimately, this negligence will lead to an inability to focus in class and your grades to suffer. It’s all on you to set your foot down on how you manage your time, regardless of what your friends are doing. It may seem like your peers are doing the same stuff so why not you hop on too? But scheduling and time management work differently for everyone; what works for one may not work for the others. To follow a proper routine, first, categorise your activities into different main categories that consume most of your time. Now roughly calculate the time you wish to devote to each activity, either daily or weekly. Then try to follow your schedule and keep track of your punctuality. This will highlight activities you are overspending on, motivating you to work towards them and get back on track. Don’t be hard on yourself, though! Give yourself time to adjust.

💳 Food & Finances

Food is another big challenge for new hostelites. If you have a proper hygienic mess in your hostel, then you’re probably good to go, but in some places, you have to rely on unhygienic places. This can even lead to some students falling ill in their first few days at the hostel. On the flip side, some students prefer eating at cafeterias outside the university, which would increase their expenditure, leading to another problem for students as they are not apt to manage their money: the financial crisis. 

Only a few pupils have more than enough financial resources to fulfil their needs and wants. And if you spend money without keeping a check, a financial crisis is inevitable. You may not even have enough money left to buy food and drinks, which may even sometimes lead to embarrassment at gatherings.

To prevent this, you have to be responsible for everything you do. Prioritise your basic needs first and then move on to luxuries. Keep track of your expenditure and avoid overspending at the beginning of the month; this will prevent you from exceeding the budget. Always plan for contingencies, as this can avoid awkward and problematic situations. Coming back to the food, if the food at your mess is truly inedible and eating takeout or at restaurants is unavoidable, research your options in regards to finances and health, and ensure you eat healthy and affordable.

💡 Conclusion

To sum up, don’t hesitate to make new friends because that hostel will be your house for the next 4/5 years, and those roommates and classmates are your second family. Also, as you are now away from home, you’ll have to take care of your food, clothing, and hygiene, which your family has taken care of in the past. For this, you will have to become more responsible. Moreover, it would be best if you took care of your belongings and personal stuff. Be sure to mark your clothes and belongings so they do not get mixed or lost. Be wary of stealing as you may sometimes cross paths with such students. Other than that, have fun! These years are your stepping stone into the real world, and you can’t endure this without actually enjoying your time. Don’t forget. At the same time, this is a journey you and your peers trek through together; it’s different for everyone, so don’t compare yourself to others. 

It may look daunting initially, but when you get the hang of it, you love the hostel life!

How to ace MDCAT as an A Level Student?

How to ace MDCAT as an A Level Student?

As-salaamu ‘alaykum everyone! My name is Sameen Tahira and I am a first-year medical student at Allama Iqbal Medical College, Lahore. I completed my O-Levels from Dominican Convent School, Bahawalpur with 8A*s and A-Levels from Sadiq Public School Bahawalpur with 3A*s. Last year I appeared in NMDCAT and secured 193/210, so I will try my best to share the tricks I used to ace this test.  

Unfortunately, being an A-Levels student, you must start the preparation for this test from scratch. Reading books of local boards is a task in itself. You just have to give yourself time to adjust to this new pattern. There are no shortcuts, but it is doable.

🎓 Academies

Let’s first address the elephant in the room: “Should you go to an academy or not?” This question is highly subjective, and you just have to weigh the pros and cons to make a decision that suits you the best. MDCAT academies have extremely hectic hours and are quite discriminatory towards A-Level students, or at least in my case they were. With the absurd number of hours you have to stay there, it becomes almost impossible to study on your own. On the other hand, they are a good way to start your prep as you get a sense of direction and get familiarised with the FSc pattern. I did join an academy but left it in the end because I figured that what they were teaching wasn’t going to come in the MDCAT, and I was just wasting my time. And fortunately, that conclusion and decision was the best one I made. So, I would suggest that take trial classes and see if going to an academy is the right choice for you. But do keep in mind, even if you go to an academy, you have to put in a lot of extra effort to get a good score. If you do plan on going to an academy, join one with good management like KIPS or STEP. Local academies are highly mismanaged, wasting your time and money.

 

📚 Resources 

The main resources I used were the Punjab Board textbooks. Trust me, they are your best friends (also worst enemies because they are difficult to read in the beginning for an A-Levels student and you get frustrated easily). You need to learn each and every detail from these books especially Biology and Chemistry. As far as consulting books of other boards is concerned, I only did specific topics of Biology from Federal which was more than enough. For the MCQ bank, I mainly used KIPS and IBEX prep books. Grip institute also released a book from which I did some questions. Another resource I used was an online platform topgrade.pk which had a paid MDCAT prep course with pre-recorded lectures and practice questions. It had tons of questions which I solved but I don’t think it was worth the money. Physics A-Levels Redspot is really good for practice. The things I have mentioned were only 50% beneficial. The preparation I did at the end was the reason for my high score. Usually when an exam is approaching, people get off social media, but I did the exact opposite. I had joined tons of MDCAT Facebook group where students giving tests posted questions from their tests daily during the exam season. Most of these questions were very weird, out of syllabus, and taken off of the internet, but I used to solve them and even learnt random physics formulas which were beyond our level of education. I also solved 18/36 PMC tests online and got familiar with the format. Had I solved all of these, I probably would’ve scored higher because around 12 questions came out of these tests. Around 15-20 questions were also repeated from the tests given by previous students.  

Do not rely on any notes or PTB books as your main source.  

📆 Coping with workload as A Levels student

During your A-Levels, only focus on securing straight A*s because if your grades drop, a good MDCAT score won’t be able to save you after equivalence.  After your CAIEs, take a small break, focus, make a plan, and work out strategies. In the start, it seems extremely overwhelming, but just know that it is doable. Start small and with time, you’ll get the hang of it. Read a chapter a day and solve MCQs. I would suggest that start with Biology or Chemistry, because the Physics textbook is written in the worst way possible, and you’ll get demotivated early on. Set small goals and reward yourself on achieving those goals. Do not compare yourself to others and keep your mental health in check because it really takes a hit during all of this. 

⏰ Routine

I cannot stress this enough: get your 8 hours of sleep. I have experienced academy teachers appreciating students who only sleep 4 hours a day and spend most of the day studying, but this is extremely unsustainable and a very dumb thing to do. Instead of fixing the number of hours to study, fix goals. Set a target that you have to do this many topics today and then whether getting it done takes you 2 hours or 8 hours, it doesn’t matter. Never make a strict schedule; you won’t be able to follow it and end up getting demotivated. Take proper meals and also incorporate some physical activity. Basically, there is no strict routine that guarantees success. Just do what suits you best and work hard.  

 

📄 How to attempt the questions?

Thoroughly read the question statement before answering. Last year, there was an outrage that if you change your answers or skip questions in the online test, it is automatically considered wrong. From my experience, I can safely say that they were just rumours, or if there was an issue, it was fixed within a few days. Take your time with the questions and spend more time on the subject you find difficult. Try practicing questions on mobile/tablet with rough work on a white board since that is what you will get in the actual test. 

💡 Final week tips

Just go through the textbooks as soon as possible and review the questions that you got wrong during practice, especially the ones from past papers.  

💡 Test day tips

Have a good night’s sleep. Do not try to pull an all-nighter doing some left over revision because it will do more harm than good. Just have a clear mind and do not think too much about the stress. There are a lot of students who have perfect preparation but are not able to perform well only because of exam pressure; do not be one of those. Go into the test with the mindset that you have done your best and the rest is on Allah. Just think about how you are going to enjoy once the test is over and you will get the motivation to get through it.  

On a final note, I would like to say that it is not just your hard work, but also help from Allah Talah that is going to help you succeed. Pray as regularly as you can and beg Allah Talah for what you want. He will most definitely listen and choose what is best for you. I spent 6 months crying and praying that I get into a certain university, but I now realise that it would’ve been the worst possible option for me and that I am instead in a much better place right now. Get your parents’ dua because believe me, that is the only reason I am here. Hard work, faith in Allah, and your prayers never go to waste. Feel free to reach out to me through the Kis Senior form if you want to clear any other misunderstandings. Good luck!

 

State of Career Counselling in Pakistan

Talking about counselling in Pakistan, we realise there is a minimal concept here. We know that education is a very significant part of one’s life, and it is even more essential to choose the right career for yourself, given that your entire future depends on it. 

Choosing a career is not an easy job; it takes a journey of self-discovery filled with passion and ambition to find out what you truly want to become. 

Unfortunately, in Pakistan, students cannot identify their potential independently, and there’s no one to help them in this journey. Their career choices confine to medical and engineering courses, but these fields aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Limited knowledge and lack of awareness about development in several professions can lead to wrong decisions and a lifetime of dissatisfaction.

World Education Services conducted a survey that has proven that only 6% of our youth goes on to receive university-level education, either because of a lack of resources or because they’re unsure about what they want to do. 

Finding the best university that could potentially become your alma mater is a stressful task. Some may find it frustrating and overwhelming, but worry no more because Kis Uni is the solution to all your problems!

How can Kis Uni help you?

Kis Uni is a social impact startup fostering an online mentoring platform for high school students in Pakistan. We connect high school students with university student volunteers and provide learning resources such as application guides and student-centric podcasts. 

The students must have a clear mindset about the various university programs so that it becomes easier for them to choose what they want to study. In this case, students should consider as many programs universities have to offer as they can, and that is why we, here at Kis Uni, have 10+ universities to choose from and 50+ mentors to offer their help. The mentors help students get into their dream universities keeping in mind their ambitions but also help students fill out financial aid applications. 

These students are the future of our country, so we consider it our responsibility to help them with whatever means we have and in whatever way we can.