I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, but was really afraid of doing so. I’m always afraid to voice negative thoughts or fears because I feel that if they come out then they become more solid and real. But I suppose I would like to let people learn something out of my experience. Maybe then they’d double think or something. But before I spill the beans, I’d like to make it very clear that no one ever forced me to do anything in my life. My parents are very accepting and easy-going and I’m immensely grateful for this.
I grew up in a family of doctors, all of which graduated with highest honors from Cairo University including my own father.
When I got to 11th grade – the time when I had to decide what I wanted to do – I was pretty baffled. My dad very casually said that I might excel in medicine-related majors because I was organized and good with memorizing chunks of info. At that time, I didn’t really listen to what he said, and I kept telling him that I’m not going to waste my life. Come to think of it now, I really can’t find the reason behind rejecting medicine.
My English teacher was the first one to tell me that I was good with the language, and encouraged me to sit the Language and Literature AS exam. I took her words mildly but sat for the exam nevertheless, and scored well.
My math and physics skills were average but by the start of the academic semester, I had settled for engineering. I still don’t know why. My parents didn’t interfere, although I felt that behind their supporting smiles, they were worried. I now know why.
That year, I sat Math, Business and English, scoring horribly on Math. This was the second sign because in my Olevels, I didn’t score well on Math, Physics and IT. I resat math and improved the grade and in my last year, I improved all the Olevel grades and sat AS Physics. Parallel to this, I used to study the A2 Math syllabus for the school exam, and I remember hating it to the very core of my being. Sign number 3.
I came to Egypt and started applying around, and a lot of relatives didn’t like my choice. They said it’ll be a tough life. This wasn’t a sign or anything but I did’t listen. I listened to no one, thinking they were just pulling me down.
Then uni started. And things started getting complicated. And I recalled my journey to get here, and what I had to compromise to do engineering. (Well when I was applying I didn’t think I was compromising anything) But I compromised one thing that I later discovered liking: writing. I remembered my teacher and my overall performance on non-science courses. I realized that I’m passionate about writing and I want to learn new skills.
As studies progressed, I realized I was writing less and less, doing the things I like less and less because I was so preoccupied with the workload. I participated less and less in writing contests, read less – reluctantly but unintentionally.
I don’t want to drop engineering, because I don’t hate it. But I don’t like it either, and I’m not really excelling in it. It’s like getting into a new school and struggling to fit in. Except in my case it’s not socially. And if there’s any advice I could give to people is that don’t ignore signs. Listen to your parents and put their words into consideration.
Sometimes the closest people know you better than you know yourself, you just have to keep your mind and ears open to everything that’s happening around you.