I am in my second half of 12th grade. I am a good student. My parent urge me to pursue higher studies. I am not fully against the idea, but I am confused about my career and feel I need to also consider other options. I’ve tried to talk to my parents, but they are stuck with the idea of college and won’t listen to other suggestions. I’m starting to feel depressed. I’d like to seek lama’s suggestions.

Confused boy 


Personally, I suggest that you first decide what job you would like to do and then choose courses that will get you there. Don’t just blindly follow the crowd, but be focused in your decisions.

Think of it like going on a shopping expedition. First, you will decide where you want to go, and only then you will consider your travel options, right? If, for example, you decide that Bangkok is your preferred choice, then you will check the flights from Paro. If you choose Siliguri, then you will look for buses or taxis that ply this route. Whatever, you won’t just aimlessly follow the crowd or randomly jump on a bus or plane, but instead will clearly select routes and transport options based on your chosen destination.

In reality, it is the same with a career. As an example, if you want to be a doctor, then you should search for medical courses. If driving a truck interests you, then you should enrol at a driving school. On the other hand, if you would like to be chef, then you should look for culinary academies or perhaps seek internship opportunities. Basically, you first identify your goal and then take the courses and trainings that will lead you there.

In this respect, I suggest you first give a lot of thought to your career and only then decide about your further education.

Now, I’m going to contradict myself a little. While you should decide your courses based on your choice of career, you should also bear in mind that the purpose of education is not to turn out identikit people suited only for the job market. It is to broaden our minds and give us wisdom and knowledge. Basically, after you identify your goal you should not just undertake a course to pass exams but do it for the sake of the study itself. Like walking up a mountain, the peak might be your final destination, but each step of the journey should be a goal in itself. Basically, you should enjoy the fresh air, admire the scenery, and fully experience the walk. In terms of study, this means that you do your assignments for your personal satisfaction, not just to get good grades and pass exams.

Furthermore, if you go overseas to study, do not just hide in your room and appear only for classes and exams, but explore your new environment. In this respect, you should observe how the local people work and interact with their community. In addition, try to meet and hang out with people who are wise and compassionate. Basically, let your planet be your teacher. This is real, practical education.

To repeat, I suggest that you first decide what you want to do and then direct your educational choices towards achieving this goal. Don’t just enrol yourself in a college merely because everyone else is doing so. Actually, the world has thousands of career possibilities and you should choose something that you are interested in and that you feel you can achieve.

For sure, your parents only want what is beneficial for you, but when they grew up college was probably not only the best, but the only option after class 12. Now, there are so many other possibilities. You should think about these opportunities and then discuss your ideas with your family. Remember that you career is not only for a few days, but probably for your entire working life, and so choose something that you are really passionate about and also that you feel can provide you with a livelihood. Good luck!

Shenphen Zangpo was born in Swansea, UK, but spent more than 28 years practicing and studying Buddhism in Taiwan and Japan. Currently, he works with the youth and substance abusers in Bhutan, teaching meditation and organising drug outreach programmes. Email to for any queries


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