Wear two hats

Wear two hats

A 15-year-old boy who once said, “My first passion was Chemistry, followed by Biology and Botany. Nothing else stimulated my interest half as much as Science. But my father convinced me to study medicine. He told me to play it safe, keep both doors open and decide after graduation, on whether I was cut out for research or not,” turned out to be the famous neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran, internationally acclaimed for his pioneering research in Brain Science and Psychophysics.

Of course in the case of Dr Ramachandran, the subject chosen for study and the vocation that was close to his heart, belonged to the same stream and hence could be merged, whereas when two disparate subjects interest your child, like music and medicine or writing and engineering, tell them that it is still possible to wear two hats and let time decide which one of the two should be the prime line. After all, don’t most musicians and artists pursue a basic educational degree?

It becomes problematic when the line of interest and the subject taken up in college are parallel fields that can neither be merged nor nurtured simultaneously. What happens when the boy who had his heart set on being a doctor finds himself in a computer class because his rank in the entrance exams turned out to be the decider? How does one reconcile to being a lawyer when the cherished dream has been to be a school teacher?

Rectify it

It is disturbing to see a fair number of freshman students confess to opting for a subject that they had never really wished to. More often, as the course progresses, they begin to take a liking to their chosen field and look forward to working in that field. But the small percentage that continues to be dissatisfied look back and say, “I am not cut out to do this.” Or, “I wish I had taken up another course. I am sure I would have made a terrific lawyer/teacher/designer etc.”

The latter class of students are usually ‘bright’ ones, who do continue to score well, despite the lack of interest or affinity for the subject. But the sense of regret and remorse can be rather unsettling for parents and the child.

Research has established that an average ‘smart’ person has at least four to five areas of strength. That is, each one of us has the potential to do equally well in a minimum of four different fields. And since doing well and being happy doing it are inter-connected, it means that we have the choice of picking a career from four or five different fields, and excelling in that.

That is to say that there is no reason to psychologically limit one’s vocation to one field and declare that as “my area of strength”.  

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