Why I Chose To Study Humanities, Even If It Meant Disappointing My Family

Posted on June 7, 2016 in Education

By Vidhipssa Mohan:

“Medicine, law, business, engineering: these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, love, romance…these are what we live for.”- Dead Poets Society

Source: Touchstone Pictures/Getty Images
Dead Poets Society. Source: Touchstone Pictures/Getty Images

I was in 7th grade when I fell in love with the habit of reading and I decided that it was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So, after class 12th, when I had to make a choice and choose a course that would help me shape my career, I had no doubts about what course to choose. I chose to study English Literature and got admission in a prestigious college of University of Delhi. Little did I know what I would have to endure after making that choice.

When my relatives got to know about my decision, they were disappointed and told my parents to enroll me in some other course. They were surprised how my parents agreed to let me study a Humanities course even though I had ‘scored really well’ in my exams. My parents were completely okay with my choice but my relatives were so much worried about my career that they kept pestering me to do something else. Something like Engineering.

Their jibes didn’t disappoint me at all as I understood their frame of mind and I knew they wouldn’t understand my choices because of the generation gap. But what disappointed me was that people my age, people studying in other prestigious colleges of India who thought and still think that I am inferior to them just because I am a Humanities student.

There is a false perception among people that Humanities is an easy stream and students can easily manage to get a degree without studying hard. This is not true at all. Humanities makes you think instead of serving raw facts to be memorized. Humanities introduces students to various political, social and philosophical theories that help a student understand the world better. There are various topics such as feminism, misogyny, misandry, etc that people don’t completely understand and it is after studying Humanities that a student learns where these concepts really come from and how important these are for everyone to understand. Most courses in Humanities expect a student to write well researched essays and this helps them with their writing skills. There is no scope for cheating in tests or assignments because ultimately it’s your opinion that really matters and copying someone else’s answer doesn’t help. Most students in Humanities love what they are really studying and hence have no qualms in attending those lectures attentively. A Humanities classroom acts as a stage for the students where they can voice out their opinions and engage in intellectual debates with their classmates.

There are many IITs, IIMs, NITs and other government colleges and getting into any of them is a matter of pride for students and their family. But there are very few colleges that promote Humanities. Also, contrary to popular belief, Humanities can help students get high paying jobs in not just teaching but other fields as well. Journalism, civil services or maybe having their own start-ups are some of the many choices.

Despite pestering relatives and lesser opportunities, there hasn’t even been one day when I have regretted my choice and if I am given a choice, I’d still choose the same. With admission season looming close, many students are confused about which course to choose to study. A student should choose what really interests them, what makes their hearts race. And if it’s Humanities, they shouldn’t be afraid to tread that path no matter what anyone says.