Coming back to a road less traveled

It’s been almost 10 years but I still remember it vividly. It was the year 2012, February to be precise, just before our class 10th exams. We were finally given our subject choice forms for the next two years. With my plans on pursuing engineering, I knew I was going to take up science. We had 5 subjects in total and in the science (pre-engineering) stream, physics, chemistry, math and English were compulsory.The 5th subject could be of our choice. I was hoping to choose engineering drawing like my brother did a few years back, but to my utter dismay, it wasn’t there. The options were biology, physical education, computer science and finally, psychology. 

I was surprised that psychology was available with math but not with biology. A few pre-med students were bummed because of this. In the CBSE curriculum, psychology isn’t a thing before class 11, So I got really intrigued with this choice and really wanted to take it. I asked my parents and they were a bit skeptical at first, but they eventually didn’t care since I was taking the subjects required for engineering. 

Then I graduated class 10th and reached class 11th. On the first day, the teachers were counting approximately who all took what subject combination. I was surprised to learn that I was the only one in my class who chose the combination of math and psychology. I thought to myself, “No one thought math and psychology was a good combination, well this is awkward.” In our school we had this system where psychology was taught to 2 sections at the same time so my introverted and shy self was really grateful that I was not getting taught one on one.  

I was never a studious person so the transition from class 10th to 11th was not smooth in science and math. I struggled a lot. Everyday was really hectic and after school the tuition kept me busy till night. Psychology became my safe space. Right at the beginning, we were taught that psychology was both a science and social science and I felt it was the right blend for me. It was not as empirical as physics and chemistry or not too theoretical as social science. I had fun studying it and scored really well. Scoring well in a subject really boosted my morale and afterwards, this helped me with science as well. As I was approaching the end of my school life, I gave my board exams and engineering entrance exams as well. I ended up getting decent marks overall but it was not enough for me to get into a top college in psychology. However, I performed really well in my entrance exams, ended up getting into a good engineering college and decided to enroll in it. I didn’t think much about psychology after that. Sadly, I underestimated engineering so I struggled with studies once again. But this time, I didn’t have a safe space like psychology. So I struggled throughout engineering. While doing engineering, time and again, I thought how different my life would’ve been if I had taken up psychology in a lesser ranked college. But I brushed off that thought and felt it was too late. 

But later, I realized that it wasn’t too late. My friend who began pursuing her Masters during my 4th year told me that Masters in psychology is open for all disciplines and I should give it a go. I didn’t think much about it then. But as my final year in engineering was coming to an end and seeing that getting a job was almost impossible, I decided to apply for it. I bought some previous year question paper books and started browsing through them. The content was more advanced than I thought and it even included statistics which I loathe but I knew I had to do it. I regretted making a wrong decision four years back and just because the content looked very advanced as compared to what I studied in school it doesn’t mean I should give up. With this mindset, I started studying. Slowly, the subject matter started making sense and I enjoyed it. It had been a really long time since I enjoyed studying and that made me really happy and motivated me to do my best. I gave my entrance exam and after spotting my name on the second second list of Delhi University, I realised I was a student of psychology once again. 

Currently, my second semester is going on and I’ve become accustomed to the method of teaching and studying this subject once again. Sometimes, the workload and the subject matter feels challenging and maybe I won’t be earning much as a psychologist as compared to as an engineer, but in the end I’m glad that I am back to safe space once again.

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