Online portal CareerFear was launched in the UAE in 2016 to help students here and around the world make more informed decisions about potential career paths.
Online editor Colin Armstrong chats with branch leader Radeeyah Ebrahim about how the platform helps young adults and the pressures of being a teenager in 2018
First of all, what is it like being a teenager these days?
Being a teenager is the same as it’s always been: There are challenges in discovering where we fit in and what we want to do in the future. But the difference these days is we’ve got social media, which adds an extra layer of pressure because we worry about looking good on social media and comparing ourselves to other people as well, which makes us more self-conscious about our lives. It’s the same teen struggles just in a different format.
How did you get involved in CareerFear?
CareerFear was started in the UAE by 16-year-old student Tanishq Kumar. He noticed that students don’t get much information about a lot of the career paths that they want to follow. So he started interviewing professionals about their jobs, the subjects they took in high school, the salaries and what it’s like to work in their field. He uploaded the interviews to the website and it grew from there.
I got involved a little less than a year ago as the blog manager, writing daily on a range of topics that are important to teenagers. Since then I’ve moved up and now I’m the head of CareerFear in the UAE, and it’s something I’m really passionate about.
Do you think a lot of teenagers struggle to decide what to do in the future?
Yes, definitely. Just speaking to my classmates in regular discussion, we’re all stressing about what we want to do, what’s going to happen if the path we choose doesn’t work out and how to decide what to do. A lot of us have interests and passions, but we’re unsure how to turn that into a career or what career could work with what we’re good at. So we need something to guide us and we don’t really get that.
What career are you considering at the moment and why have you chosen this path?
I’m looking into psychology; that’s what interests me right now. I became interested in this after seeing a lot of my classmates and other people my age struggle with their mental health. I want to do something to be able to help in that area because it’s not very talked about and we suffer a lot under the stress of school and family life. I’d like to be able to do something to change the stigma and help students who need support.
Do you think there’s too much pressure on teenagers to figure everything out and make decisions that can affect the rest of your life?
We’ve got about a year to make our final decision, so there’s not that much pressure before 11th grade, but then when you get to that stage, all of a sudden you’re expected to know exactly what you want to do and it’s very stressful.
Anxiety and depression can be common in students and because we don’t learn about it, we don’t know when we’re suffering with it, what we’re going through and who to speak to for help. It affects our school life and our family life and it’s difficult.
It’s a big decision to make and that’s why CareerFear can help guide people in the right direction and support them in an important time in their life.
To find out more, visit: careerfear.org