What The Hell Are You Going To Do With Your Life?

Posted on October 19, 2011 in Alternative Careers

By Namrata Nadkarni:

Having recently graduated from the University, there will be innumerous questions dying to be answered in one’s mind. Having a first class degree doesn’t really make things any easier. Parents usually fail to get this point. “You studied engineering for the past four years… Doesn’t that mean you are going to become an engineer?” Well umm… “No”. Why make 1+1=2 when it beautifully adds up to 11? I can be whatever I wish to be for heaven’s sake! (Although I am fully aware that this attitude somewhat attributes to that of a toddler wanting a toy in the toy-store!)


Those long hours of History lessons back in school didn’t go waste. They brought before us all the interesting people in history that landed up doing the least expected. Aren’t we all in awe of those dancers who gave up their ballet slippers to write a thesis on invertebrates? And the scientists who took to writing introvert poetry? Who wants to claim in their old-age saying that they sat for a couple of decades behind the latest PC’s though secretly deep down they wished they could have killed themselves with their office stationery at hand, in their cubicle?

This is the time to make certain decisions, the time of a “quarter life crisis”. Very few people often know what they really want to be. The rest just do stuff, the way they do it, is because either the people around them do it that way, or because they are asked to do so. Why choose to do something you know you won’t be happy doing till the end? It’s like choosing a partner in crime: sometimes you really like them, but you know you have to bump them off and be gone with the money.

We don’t want to be those “been there done that” kind of people who just do things ‘cause people do them that way. We would rather be those who did not achieve their goals but learnt a lot on the way and knew that it was never a waste.

We are all looking up with gleaming eyes to the climax of that goal that we all wait for–“Freedom”. For the coming years of our life, how many times can we say when that morning alarm snoozes for the third time “Oh the hell with it, I am sleeping in”. Our opportunities for life will never again be so great. When again can we crack those silly jokes and well those…Umm… dirty ones too..? And yet while enjoying those of life’s little freedoms we still indulge half of our brains in trying to work on the next step. For some people the path is all laid. Dad wants you to take over the business. The others are meanwhile getting a degree while still keeping their eyes open for that rich doctor/engineer.

These are worthy pursuits, no doubt, but those of us who flinch at the idea of taking these boring traditional steps…’The Unexpected’ holds a lot.

Why not spend a year after graduation in Malawi teaching the kids there to speak English and let them teach you Chichewa? Why not go on a cruise around the world fighting the Atlantic pirates, catching your own meals for the day? Why not go apple picking in the orchards of Himachal Pradesh, strolling the gardens with the locals? Why is it that we always land up taking that “oh-so conventional” path in life already set before us, rather than paving the way for our own?

I know a heavy income can do wonders, but if the inside is all screwed up, then even an Armani suit can’t do much to hide it.

It’s time we gave this some thought. Are we going to be that crow that dropped pebbles into his jar to lift the level of water, when no one of his kind even thought of doing so, or be those well marinated turkeys waiting to be cooked inside the oven preheated by someone else before?