I began my college journey in August, and I am currently enrolled in a pre-medical program. The decision to pursue this path was not entirely my own; rather, it was influenced by my parents and elder siblings. They firmly believe that a career in the sciences is the most financially secure and practical choice in today’s uncertain economic climate. Their concerns for my well-being and financial stability are genuine, and I respect their intentions.
However, I must admit that my true passion lies in the field of arts, and my ultimate dream is to become a teacher. I have always pictured myself in a classroom, standing in front of students curious to learn.
Unfortunately, I succumbed to the pressure from my family. I am now studying subjects that do not align with my personal interests or strengths.
My current coursework in biology, chemistry, and physics is extremely challenging for me. I am struggling to connect with the material, and I fear that I may not perform well academically in these subjects. Science books are so bulky and dense that they make me feel anxious when I am around them.
Guru, I understand the practicality of my family’s advice, especially given the global economic uncertainties. But, I am deeply passionate about the arts and fear that I may not thrive in the sciences.
What should I do in this situation? How can I reconcile my family’s concerns with my own dreams and aspirations? Is there a way to bridge the gap between my passion for teaching and their concerns about financial stability?
Dear Unhappy Student,
Firstly, it’s essential to recognize that your parents’ advice is grounded in the realities of today’s professional landscape. Professions in medicine, AI, data analysis, accounting, technology, and engineering indeed have the potential for lucrative financial rewards. It’s true that teaching, despite being a very noble profession, remains an underpaid and undervalued profession in not just Pakistan, but in many other countries as well. Social media is full of stories of teachers leaving the profession due to financial burdens, excessive workload, and lack of job security. Just recently, I watched an American teacher talking about how she was made to resign because she was being vocal about the stress and anxiety she was experiencing in her district school. In Pakistan, unfortunately, teachers are not valued the way they should be.
Now, let’s delve into the path you’ve chosen. It’s crucial to undertake deep self-reflection, possibly with the guidance of a trusted teacher or a knowledgeable mentor (could be teacher, your uncle, aunt, or cousin), to understand why you’re finding science subjects challenging. Sometimes, the issue may not be the subject matter itself but rather the teaching methods used in your college or the way the course material is presented. It could also be helpful to explore different study techniques or seek additional support to adapt to the science curriculum. Textbooks are daunting, I get it! I have experienced it too, but there are other awesome digital platforms where you can study science. Remember that challenges can often be overcome with the right resources. I suggest you stick with the science curriculum for the time being. After completing your two years in college, you’ll be better equipped to make a more informed decision about your career.
It’s important to understand that pursuing science doesn’t necessarily mean you’re locked into a specific profession forever. Many individuals successfully transition between fields, and you can certainly become a teacher even if you have a background in science. For instance, you could become a doctor and teach medical students simultaneously or explore careers in technology and teach digital marketing. Teaching remains a noble and meaningful profession, and your passion for it can be fulfilled in various ways.
Ultimately, the key is not to dwell on the fear of making the wrong choice but to accept your current circumstances and using them as opportunities to achieve your desired future. While focusing on science in college, you can still explore your interest in arts in your spare time, perhaps by reading books and staying engaged with the subject. I hope you feel at peace and find joy in studying science.
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