For those of you who have already embarked on this journey, you’ll know how difficult it is to tactfully help your children make the right choices for themselves – well, essentially, save them from themselves! And those of you who will be there in the near future, brace yourselves for a roller coaster ride that I’m told never ends… and I’m a believer!
Our older daughter just picked her IB choices for the coming academic year. We were very confident that it would be a breeze this time around. We’d been through a similar drill before for her IGSCE choices 2 years ago. To say that the drama that unfolded then was worthy of an Oscar for best script would be an understatement! At the mature age of 13, she was passionate about pursuing Medicine and impressed upon my husband and I, the nobility of the profession, the lives she’d be saving, how her biology grades were proof enough that she was predestined for this line of work. She then proceeded to enlighten us with the fact that it was a recession-proof profession, a fact she was certain had never dawned on us!
She laid out her choices before us. Apart from the core subjects (Sciences, English, Math, and a language) that were required and not optional, she picked History, Religious studies, French, and Drama. Okay. Drama, why drama?! Call us completely unimaginative and conservative in our thinking, but my husband and I couldn’t for the life of us work out, how drama tied in with medicine? To our knowledge, the only theater we knew of in that line of work was the Operating Theater and we were certain that there was literally no room for drama in there! Except on Grey’s Anatomy perhaps! However, what unfolded in the next 4-5 days was drama alright! Crying, emotional blackmail, counseling sessions, crying, dinner table philosophizing, crying, elaborate deal making… did I mention crying!? The end result? She got what she wanted. While we didn’t see Drama doing any harm in the bigger scheme of things, we’re still clueless on what it has to do with medicine.
Fast forward to the present: 2 years later. Last week, we waltzed into the school auditorium knowing exactly what to expect this time around, or so we thought! A couple of presentations and some option-explorations later, we were stripped of our smug ‘we-are-sorted’ attitude. Why? She needed to make some more choices which would narrow things down for her and channel her in the right direction of for her chosen career path in college. This would’ve been easy enough had she stuck with her resolve to pursue medicine. But, no…surprise! Our 13-year-old then, was not as mature as our 15-year-old now! Who would’ve guessed that she was capable of changing her mind? We don’t know any fickle minded 13-year-olds…do you? Turns out she really didn’t know what she wanted then, but she does now! She is absolutely certain, now, that she wants to be a lawyer! She wants to fight for human rights! She wants to work for the UN! From Medicine to Law…it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? How did we not see that coming?
So, what followed for the next 4-5 days was some more enlightenment…yes, she enlightened us! Her choices: History, French, and Drama! Why Law and why Drama again, we asked? The emotional blackmail attempts, the crying, long discussions, some more crying, university counseling at school, more deals… Déjà vu! It was like reinventing the wheel, however, this time around, we stood our ground, determined to prevail. She needed to be taught the age old art of trading: she would have to give some to get some. The end result: we let her pick French over Chinese and, in return, she had to pick Economics over Drama. The choices were made, submitted, peace was restored at home. We are catching our breath now – and holding it – since we know what is barreling down the road towards us in two short years. College applications, programs to choose, and yet another career choice shift possibly, when applying to colleges. Our 17-year-old in two years, will be more mature than our 15-year-old now, and of course she’ll know for sure then, what she wants to be when she grows up, right?
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