Not a medical student and proud of it
Karachi, Aug 8: There just aren't enough Liberal Arts colleges in this city. The
Institute of Business Administration (IBA) is great and the College of Business
Management (CBM) is quite decent too, but both focus on business studies.
Similarly, the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture is superb but it
doesn't pay enough attention to humanities and the social sciences. The
University of Karachi (KU) is one of the few, or perhaps even the only
university that offers a wide array of Liberal Arts courses in the city.
However, when you do opt for KU, people don't react like they would to an IBA or
an Aga Khan University student.
So what do you do in such a situation?
If you can afford it, you tend to go abroad, but when you return you get the
raised eyebrow, especially once they discover you traveled across the world just
for a Liberal Arts degree.
If you can't afford to go abroad, you settle
for KU. And after you've graduated and become part of the real world, you find
your boss favouring graduates from foreign universities. The solution?
Karachiites need to be more accepting of students in fields other than medicine,
engineering and business, even if they are local graduates. They have to realise
that it's okay for students to study something they are passionate about, rather
than having something forced upon them. Once Karachiites become more open-minded
about other fields, only then can there be quality universities with focus on
the Liberal Arts. After all, if Lahore can have its 'world-class private
university'(as mentioned on the website) - the Beaconhouse National University
(BNU) - with its School of Liberal Arts, in addition to its School of Media and
Mass Communication and School of Social Sciences among many others, why should
Karachiites be deprived?
As for me, each time I get the
"Congratulations, you're done with university. What did you study?" I tell the
eager beavers what it was that I did, they respond with a raised eyebrow. Of
course, the raised eyebrow is their way of being discreet. Often, I've had to
witness more blatant remarks such as "why that?" or "beta, you're much too
talented for such a thing". Obviously, it wasn't medicine that I had studied, or
engineering, or law or business studies for that matter. It wasn't even fine
arts, or architecture, or fashion design. No, these things, they would be far
more accepting of. I had gone abroad for university and committed the sin of
studying Political Science, and friends and family members are having an
incredibly hard time getting this down their throats. Unfortunately, my second
major doesn't help much either. "International development studies," I tell
them, and now they look more confused than disappointed. I don't know which is
better. This time they respond with a "What is that exactly?" followed by a "Do
you think development for a country like ours is even possible?" or "Oh, so
you're one of those wishful thinkers set out to change the world?" At this
moment, I decide the disappointment was definitely better. Their sarcasm makes
me want to bite their heads off. I don't, because my mother tends to grab me by
the arm and pull me away in the nick of time.
Fortunately for them, I
don't intend on joining the notorious political scene. I don't plan on settling
down with an NGO either. Joining Pakistani NGO's is 'the' thing to do these
days. Haven't you heard? It's the latest hobby among middle-aged housewives, or
home-makers as they prefer to be called these days and a hobby it will remain
(note: not job). Sure, they have their balls and fashion shows from time to
time, as well as a few photographs with the children and women that their NGO is
supposed to support, published in a few magazines. Other than that, however, I
don't have the slightest idea as to what they do.
As for my future, I
don't know what I'll be doing next. Maybe journalism, maybe not, but that's not
the point. The point is that I have absolutely no regrets. I studied what I was
most interested in and I loved every minute of it. It's not just me going
through this. Numerous others face the same or at least a similar situation. The news