on 28 August, 2014

To be or not to be; is that the question?

There comes a time in our college life when we utterly and thoroughly avoid family functions, relative get-togethers and prolonged chats with our parents. Not because of the usual attempts to avoid comments on how plump/sallow we’ve become, pep talks and free advice (preached but never practiced) but to dodge that one question whose answer has eluded even the inquisitor during his/her youth. It is that time when guys have sleepless nights, not because of her batty eyelashes or her curvy waist, but because the answer to that terrifying question is harder to get than she is. Petals of poor defenceless flowers which were previously subject to ‘He loves me? He loves me not?’ are now subject to ‘MBA? Post-graduation? Job?’ and of course there’s that horrifying dagger dangled by parents over heads – marriage.

We are expected to take a life-shaping decision based on 3 years of organizing college festivals, hanging out at the canteen, Xeroxing notes (machines and hands alike) and a splash of studying ‘Engineering’. To rub salt on our wounds, our friends seem to be totally sorted with regard to this major dilemma. We seem to be the only one who can’t figure out whether we want to continue being tormented by Engineering or give a super-difficult entrance exam to change our field entirely. We had completely made up our mind to get rid of the burr called Engineering and study nose-to-grindstone for an MBA entrance test in the 3rd year. But when final year strikes, we find subjects we actually like, above which, the realization that studying for an entrance exam with our head in the sand is something we haven’t really done since Junior College.

And since final year has struck, we have a huge project to do. It is our last chance to add some feathers to our withered credit-cap. We scramble for certificates and recommendations. We have no idea what we will be doing of these, but we do know we need them. Every grasshopper becomes an ant in the final year – extracting documented praise from teachers and the college to save for a winter of cluelessness. Cluelessness that comes from the uncertainty of our already-taken decision or from the fear of a wrong decision that we might take. Finally, we do end up taking a decision, not because we’ve had ample time and experience to think things through but because we have no choice but to.

I was once told something with which I fully agree – there’s no point in doing something you regret for the whole of your life. I was also told to do what I love and love what I do. Taking time to take a decision is not a crime. Haste makes waste. So what if our friends have taken a quick decision? How do we even know that they’re entirely sure about it? How do the likes and dislikes of any one single friend translate directly to ours? Why cannot we take a decision by eliminating unwanted choices rather than disrupting a perfectly peaceful world looking for a choice we want? Why cannot earning money be our ultimate goal? Yes, our choices may be restricted. But our power to choose among them is not. We should be our only yardstick for measuring our likes and dislikes. Lastly, the question we have to ask is not what we want to be, but what we want to do. What we do is what we will be.

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