Planning your ‘journey’: The start of a new year

Male and female student standing on a path towards a better future

Your summer holidays are just over and many of you must have taken a vacation either with your family or with your friends. I am sure you have returned with amazing memories and a renewed energy — ready to take on the new academic year.

In the years of experience I have had working with adolescents I have heard so many youngsters make life and career decisions based on a very simplistic thinking process: “Let my marks come. I will then decide!” Is this any different from planning your journey by saying, ‘Let me take an autorickshaw and see where it goes. I will then decide where to go from there’? And yet, that is the strategy many youngsters use when they ‘plan’ their life and career.

You are at the beginning of a new academic year — a year filled with potential, hope and immense possibility. If you want to make the best of this year, then you need to begin the year with a plan about where you want to be by the end of this academic year. This academic year will offer you numerous opportunities to learn new things. You will be able to learn new intellectual skills through the subjects you study in school. You will have occasions to learn new social and life skills through your interaction with your peers in and outside of school and through your participation in extra-curricular activities. Knowing where you want to be at the end of the academic year is what will help you make appropriate choices and achieve the best in the year ahead.

Let us now take a look at what you can do to make the coming academic year a fruitful one for you.

Think about what makes you unique: For many adolescents knowing about themselves is not an important task. During the year, promise yourself that you will get to know yourself better. Start by finding out what motivates and interests you. Create a vocabulary to think about yourself, to describe who you are and what interests you. Write down as many points you can think about yourself and then write a brief ten to fifteen line paragraph that describes what makes you unique. Try and do this within the first month after the reopening of school.

Write a vision statement of who you would like to be by the end of the year: Having a personal vision statement is a great way to add focus and direction to your life. Over the years, I have worked and reworked mine again and again. Today my vision statement is: “My life vision is to bring life and life in its fullness to all whom I meet by comforting the disturbed and by disturbing the comfortable.” This vision brings greater clarity and direction to the work that I do as a psychological counsellor or in my work in the education sector with schools across India.

So how do you write your own vision statement? Start with the list that you have prepared in your pitch about yourself. Ask yourself then, how will you like to use these in the coming year? My suggestion is to think of three things when you are writing your vision statement: 1. Your most important talents — those things that make you absolutely unique; 2. Where you would like to use these talents — your school, your community, your neighbourhood, your home; and 3. Why do you want to use this/these unique things in the areas you have chosen.

Read the full article by subscribing to the print magazine or the digital edition.

Jeevan D'Cunha
Latest posts by Jeevan D'Cunha (see all)

Jeevan D'Cunha

Jeevan D'Cunha is currently the Director for People, Learning and Capability Development at Global Education Solutions and has nearly 25 years of experience working with adolescents. He can be contacted at