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At fifteen, my daughter had to decide on her ‘subject-combination’.
It took me back to the time when I had to make my choice. I had been waiting for months for the time where we get to choose which subjects to study.
I loved History and Literature and Geography. The combination wasn’t ‘available’ in our school so I had to pick the nearest available package. I think it was History, English and Home Science.
My parents were aghast. Their well wishers (extended family, neighbors, friends, friends of friends, families and all) felt their pain and came together to support them.
‘She was such a good student! How did this happen?’
‘It is the age. You should check why she has lost interest in studies. Is she involved with…’
‘You can’t let her take such a decision; she is going to blame you for not guiding her when she was young.’
If you score decent marks, you study science. And become a doctor or an engineer.
I vetoed the Doctor option outright-I could already imagine being surrounded by pain, illness and death. I would suffer more than the patients around me. That, they could understand.
And engineering wasn’t an option because I hated Math. That led to guffaws (nowadays you would called it LOL-ROFL) because I had scored 96/100.
They coaxed, cajoled, threatened and then compromised.
According to the logic followed by our education system, a science student has the option of changing to non-science subjects but not vice-versa. If I studied science for just two years it would give me the option of selecting subjects of my choice two years later too.
Now, knowing how parents and well-wishers think, I guess they assumed/hoped I would realize the wisdom of studying engineering over history by then.
And so I ended up selecting ‘Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics’ over ‘History, Geography, Literature, Biology and others’
A generation later, my daughter has picked the same core subjects.
I don't know if the decision will work for her or not. I wish there was a better solution for education.
I wonder what she will be thinking a few decades down the line. Will she blame me for not ‘guiding’ her? Will she blame herself for not making the correct choice? Will she be thanking us/herself for making a great decision?
Or will she be just looking back and laughing about the mistakes we all made and how she had a beautiful life in spite of, or maybe, because of them?