You Don’t Have To If You Don’t Want To

When I passed out of school in 2015, I held a board examination result that stared back at me with a 100% in Economics, and a 99% in Mathematics. I was proud of my result and grateful for the circumstances that led me to achieve it. On one hand, my result was testimony to my strengths as a student. On the other hand, my clarity regarding the college course was one of my strengths as a person. Defying all the societal expectations, and peer pressure, I found myself enrolled as a student of Journalism at Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi University. This was in spite of initially enrolling for Mathematics Honours at the same institution. 

The decision to pursue a non-mainstream under-graduation course was not the first time I exhibited the ideology of – you don’t have to if you don’t want to. During class 8th, I understood my passion for academics, determined by identifying what I was not passionate about. Thus, in class 9th when I got the opportunity, I opted out of studying science, one of the most favoured subjects, thereby initiating my journey to learn economics at the school level.

Even during college, though economics was my minor during the 1st semester, I later on switched to English for the remaining three semesters. Yet again, I chose a subject that interested me more than the other.

All these three moments have become some of the most crucial moments in my life. Back in class 9th, what some interpreted as leaving science, others understood as studying economics. Post-school, what some interpreted as disregarding mathematics, others understood as studying journalism. During college, what some saw as leaving economics as a minor, others understood as pursuing English instead.

However, I never saw any of those three moments of my life in any of such manners. I was simply pursuing passion which came to me in the form of several different subjects. Even though I was bold with my choices, I took years to accept that they were okay. I took my own sweet time to realise that one does not have to pursue a specific subject or course if one doesn’t want to.

So, how to choose a course? Well, had you asked me this question a year ago, I might have answered it differently. However, if you were to ask me today, then I would nudge you towards a course that interests you. This is because whether you are a school student or a college aspirant, always remember while choosing a subject or course that you don’t have to if you don’t want to.

Written by Shivanshi Khanna ( Young India Fellow ’22)

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