She changed her degree?
She wasted a year.
What in the heavens is she doing now?
She wasted money.
How will she get a job in this country?
She wasted her potential.
Why can’t she just do a health science?
She is going to waste a good life.
The past year, to say the least, has been a bit traumatic for me. I, did, in fact, change my degree and as such my entire expected life path. It was not easy, but it was a healthy and conscious choice to stand up to my parents. I still can’t fathom that at 17, I had to make the choice of what I wanted to do with my life and I completely botched it.
I was, like many teens, confused about the future and what life held for me. My parents pushed health sciences or IT and my heart yearned for journalism or law. My parents are not bad people, they’re just rightfully cautious ones who give into the whole Indian stereotype and wanted what they felt was best for me. I am a stubborn person, so when the acceptances rolled around, part of me even though I didn’t know it at the time, rebelled. I rebelled in the only way I knew how, potentially ruining my own life. I decided that within the field of science I would study rocks, because I had a penchant for geography, and after much reluctance, my parents accepted on the basis that it was, in fact, A SCIENCE.
I psyched myself up, ready with sharpened pencils, an open mind, and caverns filled with enthusiasm. “YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS” was my motto. I attended all my lectures, pushed as hard as I could and yet had this aching, gnawing feeling within me knew that I did not belong there at all. How could I possibly have chosen this? A predominantly outdoor career for a computer addicted, pizza eating blob of a human? I LAUGH NOW BUT REALLY, HOW DID I DO THIS?
The year progressed and I looked at hundreds of rock specimens, passed my tests and went on exhausting field trips to find direction and yet I could never orientate my life. Lying to myself, my parents and even my friends became easier with time. “It’s really interesting” “Mum, did you know our kitchen granite is actually fake and you were scammed?” “DIAMONDS ARE A MINERAL AND NOT A ROCK”.
Feelings of isolation didn’t help either. One of few women and the only Muslim in my class. Sometimes, I’d just crave a friend or someone who understood me, but no one really did. People were kind, but I kept a suitable distance and never formed lasting attachments because I didn’t want to have a reason to stay.
My depression found solid ground in my brain, mining away in my consciousness, taking the precious resource of happiness and I retreated further into myself. By May, I decided I was unhappy and told my parents. I applied for a safe health science for the following year. I felt that maybe they did know best and I should decidedly live out my life as a cliché.
The real change occurred when I was approached by my dearest cousin who lives halfway across the world. I poured out my feelings of regret and confusion, with the help of her and my uncle, I did it. I applied for law in October and here I am now, four applicable credits to my name, in a new degree.
I can’t say my life has magically morphed into sunshine and rainbows, but I can say that I am in a much better, brighter place. The occasional snide remarks still find their way into my life, by an old aunt or a judgemental sibling. Having to explain my story surely does get old after the 60th time too. ‘Yes, I changed” “yes, how strange from geology to law”.
The reason I decided to finally put this into words is because if there is anyone out there who is scared to change or feels stuck, know that you are not alone. Yeah, that sounds like a sappy hallmark card, but it is true. You have options, you have time and it’s okay to not be sure. Trust yourself. That is all I ask.