Unlearning the learned

Updated: Jun 27, 2021

Story by Aanchal Verma

Do we really conform to societal conditionings only when we are made to or can it take it’s own course on us subconsciously? If you ask me, it’s the latter.

Despite of absence of any duress from my parents, I believed that I always had to be on the top of the conventional academic hierarchy. I was of a mindset that everything besides good scores is a waste of adolescence life and thus threw myself in a pool of similar expectations; to excel in every exam, to choose an esteemed subject (science), resulting in an esteemed career.

So, I managed to top my 10th standard examination and my choice of subject was obvious. I chose to study science and joined IIT coaching alongside and all of it felt like a dream I had manifested into being.

The journey started in all its excitement. I had to change my school as well since we shifted to a new place that doubled my excitement of conquering all the new spaces introduced in my life; the new school, IIT and the subject that I believed will open numerous doors of scope in future for me.

Months passed by, but something was not working out. My scores fell with a speed and IIT didn’t seem to be aligned with my intrinsic motivation. I cut off on every social aspect of my life, whatever little I had and started zooming in towards a depressive state since I could feel losing my balance. My head and heart felt like carrying the weight of the world and would break in pieces at any given moment.

After witnessing 6 months of my wrestle with school and coaching, she interfered like an angel to rescue, my mother. She could see the robot I had turned into and that too a useless one. She talked me into quitting IIT and focus on school for the time being. I agreed to her and left the coaching but the struggle I think was not just with the scores, it was deep seated in something else.

While I spent my higher education with a lost mental and academic health, things took a devastating turn when I scored very low in my 12th standard examination. I spent days in my bed, shutting off the outside world and only cried in hopelessness.

After a few weeks of struggle, hitting my rock bottom and juggling with various ideas and aspects, I decided to move to a different city and my parents showed full faith in my decision like they always did.

I switched to commerce and took up business administration in college. The years that I spent in college were an eye opener. I met so many people, made a bunch of amazing friends, participated in extra curriculars and activities, and yet, I scored well enough.

I learned a great deal of mental health from there as well as my friends were from that field which made me look back to see how far I have come and then I discerned, the burden of societal expectations disguised as my own, that I carried like an honor pushed me in a tunnel where I forgot that the sky is the limit.

Today I am working as a campaign analyst in an email marketing field. I thrive on new possibilities and ideas every single day. Today, I know that it’s okay to not have it all figured out and life is so much better when you stop participating in the rat races and give yourself in the race of being a better version of yourself every passing day.

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