Changing Direction: The Importance of Pursuing Your True Calling
Our Extracts - The Nila Extract Newsletter
In today's society, there is a prevalent notion that one must constantly sprint towards success and fulfil societal expectations. Being ambitious is no longer just a trait, but an enforced quality that many feel they must possess. However, sometimes pursuing these expectations can cause individuals to deviate from their true calling and result in a disoriented state. This was the case for me when I decided to quit medicine to take a gap year to explore and figure out what I really sought in life.
"Being ambitious is no longer just a trait, but an enforced quality that many feel they must possess."
Taking a gap year, or even a momentary pause, can be challenging, especially in a South Asian household. In my case, pursuing medicine was almost a status symbol for my extended family, and dropping out meant "failure." I was denied the space, time, and energy to make my own decisions, and the opinions of others were so loud that my voice went unheard.
Furthermore, quitting a course or deviating from the standard path can be met with increased scrutiny and mocking voices in one's head. Doubts and fears can weigh one down, but I found my life jacket in the confidence and strength that came from overcoming this situation. Since no one else was speaking up for me, I had to be louder and more assertive to take control of my own life. I had to silence the critical voices in my head and the opinions of others, and speak up for myself.
"...I had to be louder and more assertive to take control of my own life"
Quitting my course was a remarkable triumph for me. It allowed me to shed the heavy burden of pursuing a career that didn't align with my true self and freed me from the pressure of becoming someone I'm not. Although my decision had a significant impact on my finances, prioritising my personal happiness and aspirations over monetary concerns was not a mistake. How does one put a price on their own happiness just to please others and satisfy societal expectations?
Today, I am pursuing a new course of study, while also working part-time and performing in comedy gigs. All of this is only possible because I had the courage to quit and pursue my true calling. It is crucial to feel heard and to speak up for oneself. Silence may be deafening, but a confident voice that echoes in the silence is even louder.
"Silence may be deafening, but a confident voice that echoes in the silence is even louder."
In conclusion, let us not always rush to condemn those who choose to take a different path. Sometimes, it takes courage to quit and pursue our true calling. We must prioritize our own happiness and aspirations over societal expectations and not let the opinions of others drown out our own voices.
Sankaari Sankar Edited by Aaliyah Ahmed (she/her)
Sankaari describes herself as
"A simple chaos but a complicated mess"