My Story: How the High School subjects chose me/us

I am starting to write my own story here.
First, because my primary source of inspiration-my conversations (aka tirades, rants, clashes, slugfests) are so few and far between with the girls moving to boarding school.
Second (or maybe this is the primary reason) because as formal studies are taking over their life in a stronger grip (my last post);, I feel as if I am re-living that trauma again.
I wrote this part of the story first on a post for mycity4kids.
Reposting here..
At fifteen, Elena had to decide on her ‘subject-combination’.
 It took me back to the time when I had to make my choice. I had been  for waiting for months for the time where we get to choose which subjects to study.

I loved History and Literature and Geography. The combination wasn’t ‘available’ in our school so I had to pick the nearest available package. I think it was History, English and Home Science.

My parents were aghast. Their well-wishers (extended family, neighbors, friends, friends of friends, families and all) felt their pain and came together to support them.

‘She was such a good student! How did this happen?’
‘It is the age. You should check why she has lost interest in studies. Is she involved with…’
‘You can’t let her take such a decision; she is going to blame you for not guiding her when she was young.’

Their logic: If you score decent marks, you study science. And become a doctor or an engineer.

I vetoed the Doctor option outright-I could already imagine being surrounded by pain, illness and death. I would suffer more than the patients around me. That, they could understand.
And engineering wasn’t an option because I hated Math. That led to guffaws (nowadays you would called it LOL-ROFL) because I had scored 96/100.

They coaxed, cajoled, threatened and then compromised.
According to the logic(?) followed by our education system, a science student has the option of changing to non-science subjects but not vice-versa. If I studied science for just two years it would give me the option of selecting subjects of my choice two years later too.
Now, knowing how parents and well-wishers think, I guess they assumed/hoped I would realize the wisdom of studying engineering over history by then.
And so I ended up selecting ‘Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics’ over ‘History, Geography, Literature, Biology and others.’

A generation later, my daughter has picked the same core subjects.
I don't know if the decision will work for her or not. 
I wonder what she will be thinking a few decades down the line. Will she blame me for not ‘guiding’ her? Will she blame herself for not making the correct choice? Will she be thanking us/herself for making a great decision?
Or will she be just looking back and laughing about it, like me.
It's not funny that decades later our children are facing the same limitations.
Do we really need to make children choose between the categories of science/humanities/commerce at the age of fourteen or fifteen? And eliminate all other options?
Are these 'subjects' really so different from each other?
Why can't the student who loves Biology and History study both?
Da Vinci had interests in painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. He painted the Mona Lisa and designed a prototype for the Helicopter in the 15th century.
Why are we denying our children that chance in the 21st century?


  1. Life is a comic book of errors. I remember how misguided we were and foolish enough to sit through the PET crash course after our 11th class actually meant for students completing the 12th standard.

    1. Yes, and after 12th, I didn't sit for the PET and decided to study home science (for some time). Now we can laugh at it but back then it was so stressful!


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