I Became Mentally Free The Day I Gave Up My MBA Dream
10th Class: Ek saal aur pad lo life set ho jayegi (Just study for one more year the life will be set)
11th Class: Do saal aur bas, phir toh life pura set hai (Your life will be set if you study for 2 years)
College Life: Chaar saal aur bas, acha CG lau aur phir toh life set hai (Study for four more years to get a good CG, then your life will be set)
I am sure most of our parents have said these lines to us. And the worst part is that this phrase of “Life set ho jayegi” never ends. After college, we again burn the midnight oil either in the final year or with a job for CAT or IAS. But unfortunately, still, the settling down in life does not end and goes on till you find your life partner. The “Life set ho jayegi” is one of the major myth that the Indian parents keep telling and we tend to believe and follow it. But in this fast pacing life where there is a list of 20 under 20 on yourstory.com, kids under 10 learn computers and the constant showcase of achievements in social media mainly for validations among the youth, all these factors only make us reach our goal of settling down in life faster but hardly in the right direction. We often tend to makes our wants our needs. We tend to succumb to the expectations of our peers, friends, parents and society. There is a saying which goes by “Heart knows today what the mind knows tomorrow”. The problem is the voice of the heart reaches the mind but the mind echoes what we want to hear. This is what happened to me and I am still struggling to hear the voice of my heart.
For me, my MBA craze began in Ahmedabad during my 9th Grade where my school (Kendriya Vidyalaya S.A.C) was just opposite IIM Ahmedabad. In class 11th, I took up Science in the hope of taking up Engineering. And then went on to take engineering BITS Goa and maintained a CG above 8, keeping in mind the importance of CG for IIMs. Hence, every choice I made I molded myself to fit into MBA profile. I read more of management related books and took up an internship in a Digital Advertising Startup. And then I gave CAT twice. Each time with more disastrous result than the previous one. And the one where I did manage to get an interview call, I felt like Ellen in the coming out episode of her TV series, where it felt difficult to be yourself as each question passes by. Every fifth line we uttered was a manipulative lie to get in. This is where I failed and I guess I lacked one of the biggest traits of an MBA student, the power to convince by hook or by crook. Both the times, the more honest I was, I exposed myself to my weaknesses also and it made me realise that this field is not for me.
Then on 24th December 2016, I took control of my life instead of sacrificing little pleasures in the name of CAT Preparation. I went on Jagriti Yatra, an ambitious train journey for 15 days across 8000kms in India with 500 energetic, enthusiastic and determined individuals, who I haven’t seen once in my life. We were supposed to do everything on the train. I was so comfortable with discomfort for the first time in my life and getting out of my comfort zone made me get a perspective on other professions and opportunities in life other than MBA/IAS or startup. That realisation actually changed my life. I started researching on YIF (Young India Fellowship) by Ashoka University on Liberal Studies for a year. Then there were many research courses at TISS. And my passion for films from a very little age made me currently pursue a PG Certification course on Media and Entertainment from MICA, while working in the hope of I could work in a production or media consulting firm which I always wanted to do in my heart rather than wait endlessly for the three letter word (MBA) every year and block your calendar from July to December for its preparation plus a month in January to formulate the convincing answers and mug up the GK and Indian economy questions.
This might feel like my rant for not getting into a b-school to a few of you but I am sure many of you might agree with my journey of how we mold ourselves to the individuals whom the interviews/family/society want us to be instead of being the one, whom we see in the mirror daily. And hence I learned my biggest lesson which is rightly put by Mark Manson “The reason, not every dream should be pursued is because dreams never have negative repercussions. Reality does.” That’s why take a long hard look at what really is driving you towards your goal. The fact that I fantasised about was to have the respect and admiration that people get from their friends/family/ facebook statuses and check-ins after clearing IIM Interview and not go through the painful process of Interviews and aftermath of an MBA life which includes several corporate politics and long work hours which takes a toll on work-life balance. This thought made me free from the pressure that I have to go through this year. I didn’t want to feel like a Roadie who goes to every audition and say “I want to prove myself”. Once my Dad said, “When you are sure of your path, then there is no need for any validation from anyone“. It’s okay to settle down in life a little later but make sure you do right instead of being fast. In other words, It’s better to be a Marathon runner than a sprinter in this rat race of life.
As David Foster Wallace wrote once, Some of the most heroic people in the world are those who toil silently through the monotony and boredom, who live lives of simple satisfaction and anonymous successes. And there’s nothing wrong with that.