I am nearing the end of my degree and as I am approaching graduation, I am getting this apprehensive fear of the future.
When I was little, and the elders used to ask “So, what you are going to be when you grow up?”, everyone else was rattling off their career aspirations and hobbies and I would have no clue. I would blurt out “teacher” when my turn came but that was only to get everyone off my back because everyone else would be peering into my face or repeating the question until I gave an answer. Growing up, I felt weird among my friends because they knew what to do whereas I didn’t have a single clue. My mum would put my worries to rest by assuring me that I would figure it out when the time came. And then as I passed from one year level to the next, the pressure of an ever growing mountain of classwork, homework, getting highest grades and getting into a medical degree just kept mounting up. I had no time to think, no time to sit back and relax and think about what I actually saw myself doing in the next few years. WAIT!!WAIT!!HOLD UP!!PAUSE!!GO BACK!!!MEDICAL DEGREE?? WHERE DID THAT COME FROM??? That’s right. I didn’t know when it happened, but suddenly I was telling everyone that I wanted to become a doctor. No wait, everyone else was telling me that I was going to become a doctor. And even though I get nauseous when I see blood, suddenly I was working hard to get ATAR score of 99.99 to get into medicine. Everyone else was telling everybody else about me aiming for medicine but no one was telling me how to achieve that dream. No one wanted to tell me. No one wanted competition buildup for their kids. No one wanted their suggestion to be taken in the wrong way if things didn’t turn out right. Everyone kept mum. Now if you recall, I had arrived Australia like a year and a half ago. I had no clue about the workings. I had no clue about getting tuitions. I had no clue where or who to go to for tuitions. I had no one to guide me, no one to coach me, no one to tell me what units to take. That I could have taken Biology and still gotten into medicine. No,everyone assured me that taking 2 maths units, physics and chemistry was the way to go. That subjects that I would drown in would help me in getting into medicine. That studying whole textbooks all by MYSELF was what every student does. Little did I know everyone else was going for tuitions.
I did not get 99.95. I did not get into medicine. I did not meet the demands of what desi community had placed onto me.
I got into Bachelors of Science (Biotechnology). At every desi party I would be the target of aunties clicking their tongue in sympathy for my failure. I would feel down, I felt I had let my parents down, my relatives down, the whole of India down. Aunties would surround me and question my errors and interview my faults because they wanted to avoid the pitfalls that I had fallen into during my journey. They wanted to know what shortcuts they could take for their kids based on my shortcomings.
3 years later…
I attend a party and see this aunty whom I haven’t seen for long. I go to her and chat with her and ask about what has been happening. Apparently her elder daughter was in year 12 and she had stopped attending parties to concentrate on her studies. I asked whether she is still pursuing the dream of doctor and aunty exclaims “Doctor?? No waayy!!! I don’t want my daughter to become doctor. Do you know they have to do night shifts as part of degree? It is very unsafe for girls. Do you know its a 5 year degree? Too lengthy!!And plus my daughter doesn’t have interest in medicine. She told me she wants to become a teacher. I also like that. Best job for girls.” I look around and see all aunties nodding their head in unison.
I lose consciousness.
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