"Traveller there's no path. Paths are made by walking."~ Antonio Machado
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Life is all about the choices we make. At every step, there's a choice to be made, be it as small as whether to hit the snooze button or to get up and hit the gym, or as big as moving to a new city leaving behind all of one's security and comforts. At the risk of oversimplification, I daresay there's always an easy choice and a difficult one, and choosing the path that one truly wants to embark on is most often the difficult one, thanks to societal pressures, need to conform, need to make others around happy at the cost of one's own happiness, sheer inertia, lack of courage and several others.
Standing on the cusp of financial independence and end of student life, I can't help but look back at the most important decision I have had to make so far- the one choice that begun the series of events that brought me where I am. Moving to Delhi to study Psychology.
I was in class XIIth back then studying PCMB, all set to become a doctor as all my relatives thought. I had had no coaching of sorts as it was accepted that I would dedicatedly prepare for pre-medical entrance exams for one year after finishing school. It was hence a great news when I cleared AIPMT prelims with a good percentage. I needed that objective proof of my calibre to be able to assure my ever-doubting relatives that I was going to embark on a very different path not because I wasn't good at what I was doing but because I really was passionate about the other path. I wanted to study psychology and badly wanted it.
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Considering that I come from a doctors' family of sorts and that I'm the eldest in my generation, it was a mighty blow to my parents who had never expected me to be anything other than a doctor. But I had been at the brink of depression in 11th and had been rescued by a few psychologists' works and the power of words basically had dawned on me anew. I had silently nurtured hope to be able to touch lives and promote well being, to do meaningful work that would show my gratefulness to God for all the bounty that surrounds me and to do it all through the ‘power of words’ essentially.
My parents had had hints in the past, when I used to pore over Delhi University's website and had emphatically made them watch 3 Idiots and recommended several articles with similar messages. It was not very difficult to convince them once they realised that I would be unhappy studying medical (I reminded the that I haven't dressed a single wound yet though my father is a doctor, that I'm scared of the sight of blood and can't imagine ever pushing a needle into somebody etc.). Not to say that no quarrels or tears or accusations of 'disappointing' them were not involved. But at the end, my will won and my parents gave in. The much more difficult task of answering my relatives' queries was left thus to my good parents.
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Moving to Delhi to study Psychology in DU was the first step towards giving myself the opportunity to be all that I could be. The Psychology Department of Daulat Ram College was instrumental in shaping the 'new me' which was in reality the 'real me'. I realised that following my true calling, though difficult, actually had made my life so much more enriched. Things were very simple; happiness was easy to come. I drowned myself in the subject, allowed myself every opportunity to fall in love with it and established a great foundation to what I knew would be a life-long affair with psychology.
Eventually I topped DU in all 3 years and got a gold medal and got into Clinical Psychology in TISS and moved to Mumbai and now, here I am, ready for an exciting job that begins tomorrow for the next several months until I'm ready for PhD. Life would have been so so different had I not had the courage to change stream and opt for a humanities subject and disappoint my parents! Life would have been so so different had I not had the courage to move to Delhi after having been brought up in Jharsuguda, a really small town in Odisha! Life would have been so different than what it is that the thought scares me! In every sense, I did indeed #StartANewLife with that single tough decision and that has made all the difference.
To all those who are struggling with dilemmas about unconventional career moves, my advice is this: no matter how difficult it seems now, do follow your heart for life will become kinder eventually, and yeah, never stop working hard once you're on the path you want to walk on :) Life has a knack of throwing help at us in various forms and it is for us to recognize the angels and let them help us! If life is not a bed of roses, it definitely is not a bed of thorns in any sense. One such team of angels in work-clothes that is helping several people turn their dreams into reality (see the video)!