Monday, May 21, 2007

Finding Myself

One thing I knew even before joining a b-school was that making decisions forms the key to almost everything. Especially when it comes to making decisions which can have life long impacts. As someone who always let things “fall in place” than decide, it does not feel good when confronted with more and more decision making – deciding on major specialization, minor specialization, topic for empirical study, topic for Autumn internship, what not.

The underlying question, the answer to which could simplify a lot of decision-making, is what I want to do in life for a profession. Something which I would love doing, and give me a comfortable (not luxurious) pay. An industry where I don’t feel like a misfit, in spite of being above average. Something that would also give me enough time to spend with my family, similar to what my parents could give me.

Introspection only adds to the confusion. When I was in fifth standard, gazing at the night sky through the simple telescope I made with my father’s help, I dreamt of being an astronaut, dreaming of walking in space. In 6th standard, after reading about the Wright brothers and their aeroplane, I dreamt of making my own single seater and flying it.

An overdose of newspapers fascinated me, and bringing out a handwritten gossip tabloid in my class, I felt like a natural journalist in seventh standard. Eighth standard saw me conform to the standard Malayali ambition of becoming a doctor. In ninth standard, after having assembled a stereo cassette player I was sure that I wanted to be an electronics engineer.

In tenth standard, reading the adventure tales of James Bigglesworth by Capt W E Johns, I wanted to join the Indian Air Force as a pilot – a dream cut short by flat feet and myopia. For 11th standard, I didn’t even consider the non-science streams (the general perception in Kerala is that only those who don’t get science stream go to arts and commerce). When it came to choosing between Biology and Computer Science, arbitrarily I chose computer science because I didn’t want to learn biology (that despite being born to two avid botanists). The same repeated two years later, when I chose Computer Engineering.

Through my years in engineering, I could compile a list of jobs I would not want to do, Software Engineer topping the list. Upon finishing engineering, a computer engineer couldn’t be anything but a software engineer, hence I spent three years in the IT industry, often feeling like a misfit, in spite of being an above average programmer.

I needed a change, and here I am, in a b-school, trying to figure out where to go from here. One comforting feeling is that I am not the only confused soul around here. I do feel good that at least I know and accept that I am confused, whereas there are many who don’t. It remains to be seen whether things continue to fall in place, or whether a b-school will make me more proactive.

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