Career Choice Level: Untraditional !

Breaking stereotypes

Everything comes with a price tag. Maybe not always literally, but nothing really comes for free; especially freedom. I’m not talking about national or political freedom, those are big things. I’m talking about the simple freedom to choose your future career by your own will. It may seem trivial, but coming from a Pakistani kid, it’s something to be valued.  As is the harsh reality of our stereotype victimized society, ‘successful’ professionals are only potential doctors and engineers in the eyes of most parents, who ensure the apparent ‘bright’ future of their children by hypnotizing them to see doctors and engineers as ideals, and when the time comes, doing a big favour by presenting them with the ‘freedom’ to choose either of the two.

Being privileged enough to have parents who gave me the real freedom to opt for any field of study I wanted to; the price I had to pay was making a decision on my own. I know I sound ungrateful, but as a 17 year old adolescent unable to determine what I want, it was like having to pick a random card from the stack laid out face down in front of me, knowing it would decide my future. Surprisingly, or maybe not, (my indecisiveness continues to be as obvious as ever even now) the suggestions I asked for only seemed to confuse me more.

Not boasting, but being the ‘straight A’ student, I got to hear this often, “You’ve got good grades, you can easily get into a medical college, so why should you worry?” and “You’re capable of doing well in engineering, so go for it!” Why do our grades tend to define what we ‘should’ do or are ‘capable’ of doing? Assuming for a moment that they somehow do, even so, do fields other than medicine and engineering not need ‘capable’ people? The only thing that this led me to resolve was that I would not choose my career to be high-profile based merely on my high school grades, but I would look for something new, that I will come to love. You could compare it to the spiritual journey of a guru in search of ‘inner peace’ and it wouldn’t be much different.

On the quest, which was primarily limited to Google and Wikipedia, I came across Computer Science listed as a degree program. Curious since no one had mentioned that before, the words that caught my attention were: mathematical, algorithms, logical, problem-solving and so on. It was what I had been looking for! At least I thought so then, and I was right. Now a year into my BS (CS) program, I know my blind shot had hit a home run. The reply I got after saying that to a friend was, “Why not Software Engineering? It’s almost the same thing as CS. You’ll get to be an ‘engineer’ that way.” That was indeed testing my patience.

There’s much more to life and careers than ‘being engineers’ or doctors alike. No doubt, medicine and engineering are worthwhile professions which I, in no way, undermine, but it’s just not for everybody. There’s just as much to CS or another field as there is to the “tough two”. It’s all about what you click with. We all connect to the strongest Wi-Fi, why not do the same with careers? When you have to do something probably for the greater part of your adult life, might as well enjoy it, and I have been enjoying CS. It’s as simple as that. Having said that and now speaking in favour of my future profession, what would Medicine and Engineering be like without Computer Science?

career choice

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