High school is a riveting experience, compelling us to dream and wonder, all at the same time giving us the sensation of being infinite and the unshakable feeling that all that the world has to offer is simply at the tip of our fingers, waiting for us to reach and grab it. Oh to be young and feel the world ever so intensely again…
It is an undeniable truth that most of the things we wished out of life we never got. It is also equally true that who we wanted to be and what we wanted to do when we grew up, always got pushed aside, delayed, and postponed for some reason. Somehow, we were tricked into believing that the dreams we wanted to see become realities one day, are only hobbies, or talents that aren’t mature enough or worth much to become careers. So we became doctors and engineers and architects and even business men, just because being writers, artists and performers weren’t good enough, they weren’t acknowledged as actual possible career paths. And so we are left with the consequences; a white coat that we wear to pretend like it attracts respect like a magnet, as if respect is something given away at every corner and not earned.
In the wake of this new spreading phenomenon, a survey was conducted among a sample of 41 MIU dentistry freshman students to see what they had to say on the matter. 65% of which responded with a ‘no’ to the question of whether dentistry was their initially desired major. When asked what they would’ve liked to do instead, the responses were immediately all confined to one field: arts. They were all along the lines of: cinematography, English literature, mass communication, arts and design, applied arts, and photography. Nearly all 65% said that the reason behind why they didn’t enter their dream faculty, was in fact due to societal pressure, 40% admitted that that pressure was mainly their parents. Almost a year into their freshman year, 57% said that they now agree with their parents on the fact that they shouldn’t have pursued their preferred path. Why? It shouldn’t matter, right? I am most sorry to tell you that, due to the society that we live in, it does matter. It does matter if you’re a painter or if you’re a doctor. Photographers or literary men don’t get acknowledged as a functioning, vital organ of society but rather a mere mean of entertainment, just a pre-show, before the real band comes out. Therefore, they are dispensable. The only issue here is not the gruesome and cruel way these people get pushed aside, but the fact that they are not just distant figures we pity but they live in all of us, they are us. They’re the doctor that stopped to stare at a street art next to his hospital, or the engineer who looked in old boxes and found his own drawings in a scrap book he can’t even remember, they are the voice inside a dentist’s head when he’s working, wishing he had a pen and a paper rather than an extracted tooth and a bad smell travelling from his patient to the fibres on his coat, glued to him and gluing him to it.
The cherry on top is that 45% admitted that their current major is more academically challenging than the one they would’ve chosen for themselves, leaving them more frustrated than ever. The effort they would’ve so willingly given to pursue a passion is doubled so they could reach something they never wanted in the first place. On the other hand, 40% also said that both majors are at the same level of intensity, making matters worse. The energy we put into something is proportionate to how much we want that specific something. Consequently, if we are forced to put the same amount of effort meant for something we love into something we don’t fancy; bitterness and grudge accumulate themselves inside our hearts. This doesn’t go unnoticed, because when asked if their choice of another major than the one they wanted made them resent the people who pressured them into it, 35% of our surveyed said, that it made them angry and frustrated and more prone to cast blame.
An expected 60% agreed that if they had the chance to switch majors they would. This of course only makes sense. Those same 60% said as well that if they shared with their parents they were unhappy they would let them make the switch. However, that staggering 60% also agreed that if they felt it would make their parents prouder, they would stick with the major they don’t like just to please them.
We are not masters of our own fate; it’s often decided for us by the generation before us, like a genetic predisposition. We are handed our already planned out lives, and all we can do is fulfil the prophecy knowing that there is no escape, so that when it’s time, we can do the same to our successors. A life you didn’t choose for yourself seems somehow to take over you throughout the years; it eats away at your original dreams and ambitions. All that you had planned in your head for yourself fades away very slowly, at first a little bit, then one day you wake up and it’s all gone. Instead of being different, all we are now is a mere copy, a knock-off from the person we used to be, and the person we could’ve been departs us, never to seen again or heard of. We hand down our discomfort with our lives to those who come after us, pushing aside their dreams too, because that’s all we’ve known. To those who broke the cycle, I say congratulations, and to those who haven’t I say good luck.