Science for the nerds, Arts is for the birds…
“Oh! You were so little when I last saw you, now you’ve become so big…,” says your distant aunt. This ironical statement sounds quite familiar to most of you, I’m sure.
“So! You’re in college now, haan…. Following in your sister’s footsteps, one more engineer in the family…”
“No, actually, auntie I’m….”
“Oh ho science kar rahi hai. Theek hai…” auntie nods sagely.
“Well no, actually I’m doing…”
“Oh! Commerce!” your aunt buts in once again…”Well OK…” her expressions say it all.
Not too satisfied with your career move she looks at you. Actually she looks through you. You finally break the ice “I’m doing arts, auntie.” Suddenly her enthusiasm about your career moves takes a vertical nose dive. And within a few seconds, with an incredibly unforgiving look she’s out of sight (for a long time you hope).
This incident must be pretty familiar and unmistakably recognizable among at least some section of the youth, especially the ones who have supposedly made the ‘so called’ horrendous mistake of taking up arts as their choice of further studies at the college level.
There is a universally accepted, generalized notion of ‘arts’ typically being the last of the three standard options that could be chosen by the ‘fresh-out of-school lot.’ Meant for those unfortunate souls who probably didn’t get the required percentage for the ‘other’ streams viz. science and commerce.
Basically the problem lies in people’s attitude and thinking. Most of them, and society in general (leaving out a few exceptions), find it difficult to digest the fact that arts could actually be something you have always wanted to do. As echoed in the words of Ratna Khanna, from Jai Hind college “I always wanted to take up English literature in college but after I got 89% in the ICSE, my parents and friends coaxed me into taking up science. I got 78% in the HSC which was good enough for a science admission but I switched to arts. I am satisfied now”. This is a common dilemma student’s face. Especially students with a high percentage. Society influences their mindset to such an extent, that they are compelled to rethink their preferences.
“Why?” one may ask. “Why this stereo-typical attitude towards this particular stream.” Is it really that easy that it be given such a low grading in society? Or is it just a huge misconception that has persisted over the years?
“It can be”, as Aarti from Ruia college says, “because of the fact that as compared to the other courses, a student wanting to take up arts need not score a very high percentage in order to be eligible for admissions to the better colleges.”
Most of the students doing this course would be totally against the conception of this course being child’s play.
“As a matter-of-fact” says Jose, a student of arts, “It is far more difficult to score good marks in arts than it is in any other stream. Most of our papers are subjective and there aren’t definite answers to questions unlike a science or commerce subject where there is a definite right or wrong.” Quite true
This is not the only problem student’s face. To top their agony list, they also face hierarchical discrimination in the arts stream itself. This discrimination is based on their choice of subjects. Students opting for economics in the third year are always given priority over the rest of the students who have opted for subjects like history, sociology, English lit etc. Why, you may ask again. “The answer is that inequalities exist in every field of life so what’s so different about education” “Most youth today subscribe to this view, including me” says a honest Bryan Perreira from St. Xavier’s college.
However there also are a bunch of youngsters who want to play it safe as far as their career moves are concerned. They have established a trend of choosing science till the HSC, and only if they find it simple and fulfilling do they continue, else switch to other more so called ‘comfortable streams. (Smart thinking, wot say). Switching streams is also common among those who wish to pursue economics as their major. They spend two years doing commerce or science which, too, offer economics (till the HSC level) and later pursue arts for graduation.
All said and done it finally boils down to one thing well summed up by Jyotika, a student from Sophia college. “We do what we feel is right. Today we make our own decisions. We are aware of the fact that we are responsible for our own decisions, and choices in life. And it bothers us if our freedoms or rights are curtailed in any way, so just let us live the way we want to, and we will prove our worth to the world.” Somewhere in these lines there is a message for the society.
Finally If this is what all arts students out there feel. then way to go ‘GEN-ARTS.’ That’s the spirit we need.