She changed her degree.

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.

 

My insecurities about college summed up by Daria.

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The drastic changes brought upon by matric

After completing 11 years of never ending torture , you finally reach the penultimate year . Everything has been building up to this fateful period in your life known as matric ( as if you didn’t already know I was in grade 12 what with my never-ending sighs and lack of posts).

At the beginning of almost every school year you prep yourself , armed with an arsenal of freshly labelled stationery and the fleeting memories of your short-lived summer holiday , but mostly with a new mind-set to finally accomplish those sought after academic goals , yet sadly you never do. Almost everyone I knew had told me that grade 11 would be harder than matric and I would very much like to throw my every- growing piles of work at them , for they couldn’t have been any more wrong (granted I didn’t as hard as I should have last year and made no changes to my full-proof strategy for high school survival).

Now , however due to  the not so subtle comments from pretty much every family member in existence about how ” it’s matric this year hey , you must work hard” (gee thanks it’s not like I wasn’t aware that my future was at stake or anything , also isn’t it lovely how suddenly your grandmothers second cousin twice removed now is aware that you walk the earth just because you’re in matric) , I sort of lost my point with all those side comments but anyway , these remarks have jolted me into a plan of action and  have left me gnawing at my hair due to devastatingly increased amounts of stress. The fact of the matter is , I have finally changed my ways , it turns out the leopard can change its spots provided that they become overwhelmed by the fear of failure . However , it is not only I who has changed but those around me too.

Here are a few examples :

1.(the most horrific of all) I ACTUALLY DO HOMEWORK

As it turns out doing your homework is beneficial for you (who knew). For the first time in 11 years I feverishly jot down my homework in a diary and when I get home a designated time is assigned as if it were series watching time. My obsession with homework has reached new lengths and somehow I have grown a conscious and feel guilty if my page stares blankly at me . During June exams my very essay in English paper 3 was written from the perspective of homework ( I kid you not). Basically the moral of the story is homework is here to help , don’t leave it to the… .. last minute ( sorry I almost choked typing that because it felt so unnatural).

2. YOU DO WORK IN YOUR FREE LESSONS

Remember the chorus of joyful cheers when you find out that your teacher is absent and you have a free lesson , well this still exists but the lessons are no longer spent chatting away to your friends or reading a captivating book , rather you spend them doing homework or studying or making summaries . Some days in great times of need I found myself praying we had a free lesson just so I could catch up on work.

3. YOU DONT TRY TO DISTRACT YOUR TEACHER ANYMORE

If you go to a normal high school , at some point your class pretended to care about how well your teachers weekend went or started complaining about the school and other teachers just to waste time and avoid doing work , well my dear friends , those days are but distant , hazy memory . The race to complete the syllabus has been made increasingly difficult as the greatest opponent being time seems to be in sync with Usain Bolt. Now , you understand that if you don’t shut up and endure boring lessons it is only you who suffer the consequences (ie. failure)

4. YOUR PARENTS SYMPATHISE WITH YOU

In-between their questions as to whether I have studied or not my parents occasionally provide me with some extra support .

All my favourite study snacks ? sure

Pancakes for breakfast before a chemistry exam ? sure

A massage ? WHY THE HELL NOT?

I advise everyone to play the sympathy ” I am so stressed and overwhelmed” card because it can also be handy in getting out of family functions and chores.

5. YOUR SOCIAL LIFE AND HOBBIES TAKE A BACK SEAT

Not that I have much of a social life anyway , but the little that I did muster has been reduced down to a tiny little speck. The time I would usually spend mindlessly watching tv series or reading is not allocated to homework and sleep ( don’t get me wrong though I am still up to date with everything I assure you). The simple pleasures in life like a sleepy day in is now spent figuring out how to juggle the mess that is your life.

6. THE SLACKERS ARE WORKING

Ever notice that group of people with that “too cool for school attitude” who never did homework , constantly talked during a lesson and winged all their exams ? well they too have had the wake up call and are suddenly the ones “shhing” you .

7. WHATSAPP GROUP CHATS ARE LIKE HOMEWORK CENTRES

Forget discussing the latest news in pop culture now conversations go more along the lines of :

” I need help”

“anyone have the answer to 1.1.4″

” send me a picture of your answer please”

real friends vs fake friends. . Can you F. me the homework Read 6: 18 PM. so real friends send you 1 single paper from a past homework assignment? I prefer fake friends in this case.

Well , that’s all my brain can seem to muster at this point in time . I hope some of you relate to the above mentioned struggles and changes . Most importantly goodluck for the rest of this school year and remember to make the most of what is left ( yes , I went there)