Who's the Smartest of them All?

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Should I opt for commerce, or perhaps, indulge my creative side studying the arts. Or is a life in science my calling? When it’s time to make such a decision, most of us are confused and afraid of making the wrong decision. Unfortunately, youth are faced with such decisions right from school. With limited knowledge and looming parental pressure, these decisions are usually influenced by outdated myths.
The biggest myth is that the ‘smart’ students are the ones who pursue science while commerce or arts students are known to be ‘average or below average’. This belief is fuelled by colleges that have high cut-off percentages for the science discipline and significantly lower admission criteria for arts and commerce.
Vandana Shah is one of the many students to have suffered as a consequence of these misconceptions. After scoring 92 per cent in her class 10 exams, she was inclined towards selecting the arts stream. However, she was discouraged from making such a move by friends and family.
“Everyone told me if you leave science, you will regret it. You are such a smart student, why would you want to limit your options?” explains Vandana.
She gave in to the pressure and is now studying science at a prestigious institution. While this decision has made her parents proud, Vandana does regret not following her heart. She is still among the highest scoring students in her class, but Vandana does not relish these achievements. “I can’t wait to finish class 12 and begin my transition into arts through my graduation. Sometimes I borrow my friend’s English textbooks and regret not being able to study about such interesting authors. I will not give in to parental or peer pressure again!”
Here are some of the myths that are usually associated with arts, commerce and science:

Myth 1
All High Scoring Students Must Pursue Science
REALITY: A number of high scoring students venture into commerce and arts streams. In fact, Alaric, a student of St. Xaviers College, was surprised to find a student who scored 92 per cent in his class 10 exams, opting for arts in class 11. Times are certainly changing! If you want to pursue science, you must have an aptitude for the subjects in the science stream. As Nidhi Jasani, a class 10 science student explains, “Science is not for smarter students as such, it is just time demanding and requires hard work.”

Myth 2
Commerce and Arts are ‘Less Taxing’ Streams. Therefore, They are Meant for Students Who are Not Academically Inclined
REALITY: Whether you choose arts, science or commerce, different subjects will pose different challenges. “Commerce itself is not that easy as it has various difficult topics such as accounting; so you need to have an aptitude even to study commerce,” says Shikha Dharia, a class 12 commerce student. In the arts stream, even subjects like English Literature, require the ability to analyse, critique and interpret texts. This is definitely not an easy task, especially because all through our schooling years, we are trained for rote learning. When given the opportunity to think and interpret freely, it can be quite a challenge!

Myth 3
There are No Viable Career Options If You are an Arts Student
REALITY: Arts is no longer restrained to a theoretical study of languages. It now includes mass media, psychology, music, design, teaching, research, journalism, hospitality, photography and many other exciting avenues. Most of these professions are high-paying and they are becoming hot career options today. The age old belief that students who pursue arts venture into low-paying professions does not ring true at all.

Myth 4
Only Science Students Perform Well in Competitive Exams
REALITY: In the 2011 CAT exams, Saurabh Kumar, a BBA student, busted this myth by scoring 99.4 percentile! With the right preperation, students from any stream can crack common admission exams.

Make the Right Choice
In India, for a student, the biggest influencers while selecting a stream are his or her parents and peers. So before you make a decision, be sure to separate your interests from your parents’ dreams and your friends’ choices. If you are still confused, try taking an aptitude test to help you narrow down your strengths and to get clued into your areas of interest. If your parents do not support your choice, try and convince them with the help of other family members or friends. Also, do not give in to peer pressure while making such a decision.
“It is totally up to the student. After all, it is they who have to go through the rigours of studying the subjects. Thus, they must be comfortable with what they are studying and be happy about it too,” explains Leena Shah, a parent of a college-going child. A student should be allowed to make his or her own choices because interest and excellence go hand in hand.
We hope that each and every one of you has the privilege of pursuing a career of your choice and excelling in it. Be fearless when you make this decision; do not worry about what others might think because only you know where your interest lies. In the end, the decision lies with you alone; do not indulge in baseless comparisons; instead, follow your dreams. So if you have an aspiration in mind and some sort of a career direction, it is highly recommended that you simply get up and go for it!

Volume 2 Issue 1

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