... to choose your own calling cautiously
Alankar Jain from Kota, Rajasthan, had it all. He was the best student in class and his teachers and parents thought him capable of everything under the sun. His father one day proudly patted him at his achievement in school and asked him to become an IITian. That is precisely what Alankar did.
In a blog post on Insight, the IITian speaks about this decision and what followed. Is this my calling? Is this what I want to do? While he asked himself these things, Alankar also went on to chart his path in the mecca of technological studies.
He landed a job and was doing good at it, when an incident awakened him to the passion one must feel towards one's line of duty and the interest that takes one places in the job.
This sudden change of mind though initially put him in an existential quandary through 'what do I do now' and 'is this my cup of tea' questions, also helped Alankar find a solution to get past it all and do what he likes. Today, he sees his future in a well-balanced juggle between what he is doing and the stuff he would love to do.
Sitting in front of the computer screen, but with his heart in history and the other social sciences, Alankar has penned his crisis impressively and also finds a soothing and more importantly workable solution by the end, which is exactly what today's baked workaholics need.
Instead of a drastic change, what might help is a gradual shift and more awareness towards what is your true calling. To go by what others think is worth 'it', might kill your own instincts and drive for success.
Here are a few excerpts from the inspiring and forceful letter by this deep thinking IITian, who has insightful words for all of us.
On coaching classes
Contrary to the popular belief today, they did teach fundamentals of science quite well. They made students solve dozens of problems daily and provided them with a rich inventory of tricks and techniques that made JEE tractable.
On spending a year on preparing for JEE
Expectedly, the most unfortunate casualty of this system were these students' precious teenage years, that led to a lot of them feeling 'burnt out' which later became a big reason for their poor performance in IITs.
On parents wanting their kids to be IITian
This myopia was characteristic to other parents of my parents' generation. Most of them took these life-defining career decisions without giving much thought to their wards' skills and interests.
Life after passing IIT
And here I was, without a single publication, not in the prestigious programme, with only two things to boast of: my IITian tag and my CPI, both of which didn't mean a lot after I had landed my job.
On where his heart lay
I feel that deep down, the questions of development, economics, history, society, culture are closer to my heart as compared to questions of technology. That is not to say that I don't enjoy working on problems of research in engineering.
Photograph: Courtesy, insightiitb.org/