Far From Home: Challenging life for most CA students



Apr 3, 2019 by Mohsin Raza

Struggles for CA students

Home: The basic necessity for every living being; the place of love and comfort; the place of growing up and experiencing every small to big realities of life. But what if one has to leave home for studies and need to relocate in another city for pursuing higher education?

This relocation happens a lot in the Chartered Accountancy field, which is one of the prestigious disciplines that let its candidates explore the professional world. It nourishes a student to grow in the corporate sector while pursuing one’s education. However, a student has to make loads of adjustments during his/her studies.    

To study in a good quality CA institutes is not in the reach of every Pakistani student. In fact, their presence is just limited to large metro cities. In addition, there is a lack of qualified teachers’ availability in the institutes. So, in order to accomplish the educational goals, CA students relocate to different cities or spend a lot of time traveling back and forth.

For this blog post, we took interviews of those CA students who are living far away from home to complete their studies. During the casual interview, repeated themes including the unavailability of quality education in home town, trouble creating a balance between work and studies, weakening of relationships and fear of missing out (FOMO) attracted our attention.

Nevertheless, we also sought out students’ views focusing on online education to find:

  • How online education can help the CA students, especially those who relocate just because of the unavailability of a quality institute in their hometown.
  • How online education can help students in managing their work-life balance?

In this blog, we will share the students’ feedback on these issues. The top-most reason for the majority of the students for relocating to other cities for education is the lack of educational facilities in their hometowns. When we asked students about the basic and foremost reason for pursuing careers from a different city, only one answer emerged. That is:

Unavailability of quality education:

Quality education is arguably the most important aspect of CA. There are many institutes out there providing education, but they, in the opinion of the students, do not satisfy their requirements. This happens because teachers fail to develop a meaningful relationship with their students. Also, they miss all the cues to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and contextual knowledge, so that students can understand the relevance of it.

Likewise, if the institutional system is not letting students reach their full potential or they fail to motivate students towards studies then a major drop out from the course is also observed. In CA, the institutes come second when comparing it to the popularity of the teacher. That is why we see students’ enrollment in 2 to 3 institutes at the same time. It is very unlikely that a student gets satisfied with all the faculty members of a particular institute.

Hence, the flight of students to popular cities happens to achieve their successful completion of CA. One such relatable story was shared by a participant wherein he spoke about how he drops the CA course, but now he hopes to attempt and clear his remaining two papers in this June attempt.

Let’s hear what he elaborated regarding the experience of leaving home and living far away from family.

‘’I completed my education 8 years ago, or I should say left my education in the middle. At that time we did not have many educational institutes and educational resources in Gujranwala. Leaving the family was the choice only left. I lived alone in Lahore but would travel back and forth once in two weeks and in immediate cases. We all know, we all have to make choices even for the matter of achievement or regret in later life stage. Clearing my paper was my top priority but the struggles of living away from family and work kept my mind divided. I couldn’t concentrate and I had to make a choice so I came back and lived with my family. It’s now 8 years since I studied my course. My two papers were left and now I have chosen the TSB Platform to study online. Now I am living near my family and managing my work and studies together. I hope to pass my papers in this attempt.’’        -CA Student, Gujranwala

One of the students talked about the number of institutions and ranking of cities for CA:

‘’Karachi comes first in providing a quality education because of a number of reasons such as renowned institutes and qualified teachers. Whereas Lahore institutes are considered the second finest option if one cannot go Lahore. While Islamabad holds its place probably on third or fourth. These top cities have leading institutes which is why people travel 4 to 5 hours to take their classes.”  -CA Student, Faisalabad

Other Participants shared similar statistics.

‘’Many students in my badge traveled to Lahore. Since I had the access to Online Lectures I did not move to Lahore or anywhere else. I was fortunate for I didn’t have to go anywhere. I Just stayed at home and studied through the London School of Business Education platform, but now I have switched to TSB education because I can understand it easily, as the lecture delivery medium is in Urdu. The reason is that in Gujranwala we do not have top-notch teachers comparing to Karachi and Lahore level which is why most of the time students travel to complete their CA.’’ -CA Student, Gujranwala

Troubles with Professional Life

”Although I live in Hyderabad, my education is from Karachi. I attended my classes in Karachi and traveled every week to take lectures. One of the main issues I had to constantly deal with, was the permission to take off early from work. You see, it’s not easy to get a considerate employer who is cooperative enough to let you study.  At times it happened that my class is at 6:30 and I am still in Hyderabad waiting for the clock to strike 5. It was a big challenge to overcome. Moreover, to come from Hyderabad to Karachi takes three to four hours. Also, I used to leave just after the class because the next morning I had to leave at 7:30 for work. It wasn’t the issue of affordability for me, but traveling broke me both mentally and physically. When you have to travel on a daily basis or on weekends it gets difficult and tiresome. Additionally, you do not get permission from work most of the time which is definitely a difficult situation.”  – CA student from Hyderabad

There are more cases like him who lived relatively close to their home and could return right after the class after a few hours of traveling, but they have to confront challenges related to the work. ‘’Remarkably’’, a student said ‘’Just as in oscillation, it is a constant to and fro movement from one place to another’’. However, students who study in long-distance places do not have this facility to return to their homes or to their friends and family gatherings. They then have to stay with relatives or strangers or in hostels to pass their studying and working period. Nevertheless, one way or the other, a student has to make a better choice to excel in his/her career.

 ‘’I was told a common myth about CA that you cannot pass the paper. But after clearing my foundational level I am compelled to say that there isn’t any field that does not demand any input from the learner. No matter what field you opt for, persistence and hard work are mandatory. However, Yes! it gets really difficult to manage work, studies, and family together. I believe this should be addressed to us often so that we can keep ourselves motivated towards our goals.’’ -CA Student from Gujrat   

Weakening of Bonds

 

Moving away from home does elicit loneliness and homesickness. However, after two to three months students start to get involved in the environment around them. They feel comfortable in their new surroundings. The loss of acquaintance gets brushed off and the sense of loneliness fades away. Nonetheless, this also decreases the dependence on old friendships in their home setting. On a funnier note, CA students constantly have to face the taunt of ‘’Baray log, ab tw bhool he gaye’’. No matter how many times they try to preserve the old relations and social ties they tend to become loose networks.

The increase in distance and constant inaccessibility to interaction force the students to keep everyone in touch.

‘’During traveling, I meet a lot of new people and make new friends but to stay connected with the old friends has always been a challenge and I try to manage it. Here’s a thing, when you are in a new circle you don’t actually keep track of older shared memories. Memories are there but their feel or impact starts to fade. You get too accustomed using similar phrases to let the other person know they are part of the life, but in reality, you never feel the bond which was shared before.’’  – Chartered Accountant, Karachi.

Similarly, getting into the habit of less communication due to workload and studies at home is not a simple process on both sides. On one hand, the family members feel ignored, whereas, on the other, the student feels as if he is never going to be understood.

‘’Moving and relocating into a different place is problematic for most of the students. When you are settled into a new place it pretty much feels like home, but the distance from home is always tough, especially, when you are coming from interior Punjab or Sindh. I’ve seen people struggling to settle in the new community. I have recently moved to Gujrat because of my nature of work and I can feel the distress these days.’’ -CA student, Gujrat

Fear of Missing Out(FOMO)

According to Deloitte Insights, every one of us is living in a screen age where we are constantly bombarded with pictures, videos, audio messages and information at the expense of our fingertips. Likewise, we have more digital media options than ever before. With this disruptive advancement, students are becoming frustrated by everyday entangled situations. This is also creating unwanted and unwelcoming fear in their lives.

As stated earlier, some of the students also talked about the fear of missing out because of their studies. One student linked this fear with homesickness. Since students give most of the time to work and studies they start to develop FOMO (Fear of missing out), especially about life. Students who are living far away from home then involve themselves in activities that have a negative impact on their overall personalities.

‘’I had to leave many wedding ceremonies, birthday parties, and family gatherings just to do my exam preparation. Even if I ignored the call of invitation, the fear of missing out remained at the back of the mind. Because it just makes you feel bad that everyone is having fun and you cannot join them. It’s not that CA students don’t get to enjoy life at all. I enjoy at the beginning of my new sessions. I know others do the same. New sessions are relaxing period for me. However, it depends upon the spectacles through which you choose to see the situation and what’s your attitude towards it. Moreover, choosing the hostel is very important because you are becoming a part of a community which is impactful whether negative or positive. There are many good CA hostels in Islamabad where you can enjoy the company of professionals. Such gatherings are a source of grooming and teach you ethics of the corporate world. On the other hand, I have also seen hostels where all type of things happens because there is no one to stop you, force you, scold you or encourage you to studies. Sometimes drug addiction is the result emerging out of this fear. You see, the drug’s usage is quite rampant in Islamabad hostels and I am sure this happens in Karachi and Lahore too. Students do come here to excel in their career and get into wrong hands. It’s our moral obligation to surround ourselves with helping professionals.  Also, we, the students of CA need to understand that CA is possible. It is achievable. We need to realize that embracing and accepting the new challenges should be our mantra to avoid regretful events for the rest of our lives. It’s okay if we are missing some part from daily on-goings. It’s okay. It may be hard work for the present but it’s going to pay us later in life.” -CA Student and a Vlogger from Islamabad

Conclusion

With the widespread of digital media technology, we are seeing a number of live/online educational CA classes coming into the industry. This can influence a higher number of CA students and can reduce the above-discussed problems; as online studies tend to be more personalize and flexible. In addition, it can aid students to integrate their studies with professional life.

However, students are concerned as taking live classes has its own shortcomings. These time-bound classes do not have any customizable features, for instance, if the student fails to show his presence on the scheduled time he misses his lecture. Keeping this view, I am compelled to say that this will not address our issues as it is like selling old teaching methodologies in new packaging.

Therefore, new effective models should be used in teaching the CA courses that posit innovative ways for reducing the dissatisfaction of students from our educational system. It is true that institutions and system cannot be transformed overnight, however, if this barrier is turned down by any means such as providing pre-recorded lectures with the instructional design while remaining affordable and accessible then the students’ needs will be taken care of.

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the students studying CA from different cities. TSB education is not responsible for the views expressed also this does not necessarily reflect the policy of TSB education. The author does not intentionally or unintentionally, advertently or inadvertently harm or damage the prestige of anyone.
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