Dearest Daddy, Mommy, Auntie Soad, neighbors, whisperers, doorman, and general society, you know who you are,
Every day I wake up before the sun does, I hit the road and head to college. But I can’t remember the last time that I did it for me. I have lost faith in the journey yet I am still on the road, for you. For mom, not to feel like her daughter is any less than Auntie Soad’s. For dad to be able to sleep at night knowing that I have a future. For society to get the image it long strives towards. I do it because that is the only way they taught me how; you go straight from high school to college where they batch you up to join the well-educated elite club. Even if you fail, really that is just a technicality. But oh mom, the membership is so overrated. I find myself stuck in lectures, wondering what I could be doing outside of it, how I’d consume my time, the opportunities I could take. I see myself in a whole other path, I know I can do it, and so I have decided to quit college.
“I have lost faith in the journey yet I am still on the road, for you”
This up there, would be the perfect way to give your parents a stroke, yes very effective. Those who’d like to quit college might have very different reasons, but yet get the exact same responses and walk through the exact same arguments:
- WHAT? But then you’d only have Thanaweya Amma? Who would hire you???
A person can finish college in 8 years instead of 4, have zero skills and still get a job that some other super-skilled individual with only the National Thanaweya Amma Certificate can’t get, because certificates impress our society. So instead of adjusting society’s false beliefs to what we think is fair, we adjust ourselves to society’s misconceptions, to get a job, afford a living and fall in line; copy and paste.
- Who would marry someone who didn’t graduate college?
If you are a guy, they tell you that the father of the love-of-your-life would never take you as a husband for his daughter if you don’t graduate college. They tell you that not having a college certificate is an obvious cue for a lower social class. If you are a girl on the other hand, they tell you that any man would want an educated mother for his kids. Even if he does marry you, apparently at some point he’ll use it against you. But really, quitting college aside, the thought of doing something to appeal to anyone in the world but yourself definitely shouldn’t be encouraged.
- What makes your colleagues superior to you?
Parents are inclined to put you in comparisons. Comparisons with your cousins, your friends, and maybe even Einstein! And the result of such thought-processing will only make them more and more disappointed. You’ve been the horse that they were betting on in the race all along, and hearing that you want to quit the race just means that they’ve lost their bet.
- What would people say?
Suddenly it is not about your future, your life or your passion. It is about finding a reasonable explanation for Auntie Soad, the neighbor, the doorman, and maybe even the strangers on the street. If you can give them that, then maybe they’ll let you off the hook. People don’t care if football players, for instance, never graduate college because they’ve got million dollar contracts. Which means that it isn’t about the education that you receive but the light it portrays you in.
“The education that Nobel-prize winner Malala Yousafazi took a bullet for, isn’t the one we receive today.”
Dear parents, I am not suggesting that your child should quit college. All I am saying here is that they should have the option. If someone doesn’t believe in what they are doing, then there is no possible reason in the world good enough for them to stay stuck in it. You shouldn’t bother writing all those worst-case scenarios for him/her with failure as the only possible ending. If someone sees potential in another path, then you should attempt to see it too, or else step aside.
The education that Nobel-prize winner Malala Yousafazi took a bullet for, isn’t the one we receive today. Some of us don’t receive valuable information, but rather prestige. So, excuse them, if it doesn’t satisfy their thirst anymore. It shouldn’t be a taboo to quit college. It shouldn’t be a taboo to take a gap year and explore your options, talents and skills. And it shouldn’t be a taboo to take time to plan your life. We are expected to know it all at 18, but it doesn’t have to be this way. We are too scared to mouth different lines, so we stick to the script. But sometimes not following the crowd gets you to your destined path.