Rewa Phansalkar
on 13 August, 2012

May I please study what I want to

This is not your conventional article. Not a blog either, nor a page full of career advice. Honestly, it is not much more than a rant. A frustrated teen's musings over options, choices, compromises and deductions that go into making an informed decision that is supposed to shape her entire life ahead, and all of that. Basically, it is the great complaint of the Indian student. The story of us all.

Its been only four days since I was introduced to "college life", a term so hyped up in movies and Chetan Bhagat books, that your expectations are almost always met with disappointment. Being a hard core PCMB-CBSE schooled kid with a deep set interest in science and buildings, a staunch worshipper of text books and dedicated teachers; coming to a Bombay college to study architecture; a design oriented, creative field, has been more of a sudden shock than a gradual transition. After scoring a 96.4% in my board exam and taking provisional admission in a vast array of colleges like St. Xavier's, NIT Nagpur, BITS Goa and IISER Kolkata, (and a small stint at Ruparel and NMIMS) I finally landed up at Academy of Architecture, Mumbai. A faculty of odd, inexperienced youngsters, no books, and way too much focus on vague, subjective stuff like "good designing" unsettled me to such an extent that I'm seeing a shrink at 18 years of age. I miss science, I love Art, there is no way of doing them both together.

This tragedy is the story of a multi-talented Indian student (excuse the absence of modesty), who lives in a world where education is a rigid, straight path, with no bends or by-lanes. If you are not one of those lucky folk who are sure of what they are meant to do with their lives by 8 years of age, there is very little chance that you'll ever figure it out, and even little, that you will like what you ultimately land up doing. Search through every BSc college curriculum, and find me an option where you can take Math with Biology. Or Fine Art with Literature. Or BMM with a wee bit of statistics. Because, honestly, It's too early for me to decide.

Being good at a lot of things has become a curse, one much more potent than not being good at anything (Then you just blindly do engineering). For those of you who have come to the site to flit through college reviews, know that whatever you may get, doing well there depends entirely upon whether your heart lies in the subject. We can all be dedicated and focused, if only we knew what to focus on. Once you are stuck, the system leaches a precious year out of your life in the process of you getting out.

It is time to take more from the west than fashion and food. What the Indian education system needs, (and a hundred people will tell you a hundred different things, just bear with me.) is a little bit of flexibility, an option to gain credits faster and shorten courses, to pick and choose a few of your subjects and to lend a longer period of time to  naive, impressionable, 18 year old minds, struggling to decide how to make the rest of their lives meaningful.

Most important of all, I beg the system stalwarts to let me choose Maths with Bio. Because, like all the kids my age, I'm VERY confused.

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Rewa Phansalkar

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