Living in the kind of society that we are, all of us know the tremendous amount of pressure we have to survive and excel in the academic battlefield. You have to work like a horse to make sure you do better than the ‘Sharmaji ka beta’!
But how ‘life ready’ does our education make us? After getting out of college, you have hardly any idea how to manage your finances, pay your taxes, or more trivially know how to get a gas cylinder. Recently I discussed these issues with a finely educated gentleman and he told me that these were “extra” skills and knowledge I needed to pick-up as I go along with the “real” education. So apparently, knowing that mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell is more important than knowing how to pay my taxes.
The struggle of life is real. More so when you move out of your house to settle in a new city. The anxiety only amplifies when you turn 20 but hardly feel like a 20 year old. When the folks want to know what direction are you planning to take but you don’t even know what you will be having for dinner. If you dream of doing something extraordinary, letting things be is a luxury you can’t afford. You desperately want to spend your life like the spoilt kid in a movie who suddenly gets everything right in life but with stakes that high, you can’t take it that easy.
The point is, they don’t teach us the things we actually need to know. Not even a little bit. Of course the things we study are the things which help us shape our careers and excel professionally. But what about life? For those of us who are pursuing the field we are passionate about, a line of study which we live for, the course material is so heavy and taxing that the pleasure and delight of studying is not the same anymore. We get very limited liberty to explore let alone discover our mojo.
Some of us brave through the struggle and achieve. Achieve what they wanted to. Achieve what they deserve. That only happens when you keep your head. There are times when you will be disgusted by the situation you are stuck with, by the people you are surrounded with but remember that the people who made through it were exactly like you. If you pay attention you will learn from their story and find your way. J.D. Salinger echoes this thought in his book ‘The Catcher In The Rye’ -
“Among other things, you’ll ﬁnd that you’re not the ﬁrst person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to oﬀer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”
Hold on, you are going to get it together!
- Shakshi Singh