As a child I wanted to be many things when I grew up. Initially, I wanted to be an astronaut then an archaeologist and finally a doctor. Throughout all this my parents never ridiculed me. I would say I wanted to go to Pluto (my favourite planet as a kid) or that I wanted to go to Egypt and unearth something related to ancient Egypt and they would ask me the how, when and why of my latest dream. Always encouraging me in whatever I came up with.
As I grew up I only had one dream, to become a doctor. My dream became my parent’s dream. Getting into medical school in India is very difficult. Only exceptional students get through the entrance exams, I was an average student. I did get a seat on merit but an all-India rank of 1000 something still wasn’t good enough. Only the first 300 people got medical seats. I was given a seat in dentistry, something I had no interest in.
There is another way to get in medical school, the management quota, otherwise known as paid seats. We come from a middle class family and these seats on an average were priced at Rs.20 lakhs, i.e., $30,000 approximately. We didn’t have that kind of money to pay what was essentially a bribe. My parents were ready to sell our house and move somewhere else but I just thought that was preposterous. This was my dad’s first house. He had bought it after years of saving up. Moreover, the house wasn’t not just for me. I have younger siblings. So, I tried coming up with an profession to pursue, all the while trying to gather the pieces of my broken heart as I sought to be practical. When I decide to pursue law as usual, my parents were supportive. And I’m happy to say, I haven’t looked back since.
But not everyone is as lucky. I know so many people who are pursuing educational course or careers which they have no interest in, just under family pressure. Most of their parents want them to pursue careers like medicine, law or engineering. Other careers just don’t seem to match up in their eyes. God forbid their child wants to become a fashion designer or a photographer! Careers in any creative field are looked down upon by such parents.
I personally feel choosing a career is a very important decision. Our career choices are something we have to live with our whole life and hence getting into a field under pressure just makes a person unhappy in the long run. I can’t even imagine getting up every morning to go to a job I have no interest in.
This is why it’s so very important for parents to encourage their children in their career decisions. I understand that as parents they worry about their children’s futures. In this regard, my friend’s parents met him halfway. They ensured he graduated before he could pursue his dream of becoming a photographer. They wanted to be assured that he was suitably educated.
Some day when I have children, I know I’ll let them soar and achieve their dreams and I hope you will too.
“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”— John F. Kennedy
“Children need models rather than critics.” — Joseph Joubert, French moralist