A Leap of Faith

The past few months have been monumental when I look back on them. It is perhaps because realisation comes in so unexpectedly. They were those in which I took a step forward, decided what my life was going to be about. I always thought I’d done that in my second year of A Levels, I knew what I wanted to do – medicine. But as I sat in one examination hall, answering a list of MCQs, my mind raced back and forth. Past dreams and wishes coming back to me and the immediate past mingling with it, threatening to engulf all ideas. I kept telling myself I was doing the right thing. Isn’t this what people expect you to do? Pursue medicine? Isn’t that so impressive? My mind was continuously reasoning, as if skipping every now and then on two sides of a line – practicality and on the other side, dreams and all those things I yearned to be.

What I yearned to be was something which seemed so much out of reach, it seemed to exist in a sphere where people did not. And that’s when things clicked, fell into place. What I was doing was following a stereotype, perhaps I had become so keen to meet expectations and benchmarks that who I was, what I wanted to do, had no meaning. I was part of this race to reach the finish line, and what the finish line symbolised or what came after that, was not of any concern.

It was then that I thought that I did not wish to live a life of fulfilling expectations, a life of meeting people’s ideas of success. It was what changed things around. It made me realise that at the end of the day, my lifespan will be like the blink of an eye, my moments must be hence spent filled with self-fulfilment and reaching to the expectations of the One Being, Allah, who created you. Why not thus make it a journey that suits you best?

People have been shocked, or surprised and sometimes, quite scornful. But then, they will always be, whatever you do. Hence, it was just a small step for me then, a leap of faith. My parents knew why I was doing it, they wanted me to be happy, and that was it. Being a good science student doesn’t necessarily mean that you wish to become a doctor or engineer. Neither does it mean that you cannot enjoy studying literature – rather, that has been one subject I have found hard to let go of. Going for social sciences or liberal arts or humanities doesn’t mean that I have lost all hope. Some people even happened to surmise my parents were stopping me from becoming a doctor because of the years I would have spend studying medicine.

Whoever is reading this, if you are making a career decision and are scared of ‘log kyaa kahenge’, never be. Live it being happy doing what you love, so that in the end, you don’t end up blaming society or those around you. It is you who will be living your life, do not live it for ephemeral moments of glory. Live it being who you are.

I end this monologue with a piece of Fleur Adcock’s poetry:

‘Goodbye, sweet symmetry. Goodbye, sweet world

of mirror-images and matching halves,

where animals have usually four legs

and people nearly always two;

where birds and bats and butterflies and bees

have balanced wings, and even flies

can fly straight if they try (……)

(…..)goodbye to the sweet certitudes of our

mammalian order, where to be

born with one eye or three thumbs

points to not being human. It will come.’

(from her poem – Last Song)

I must not leave this blog-post incomplete without a shout-out to my family and friends who supported me in my decision. Thank you!

All praise be to Allah, the Best of Planners.


15 thoughts on “A Leap of Faith

  1. I feel the same. When I told my mother that I wanted to pursue photojournalism or just journalism, she let out a scream. She was that shocked. I keep going back and forth. I don’t know what i’ll be in the end, as I feel incomplete without medicine in my life. I hope it’s medicine what is my future in the end, i feel so strongly about helping people directly. Is liye. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you for reading what I had to say, Kashaf!
      Haha! Do explain your reasons to her πŸ™‚
      If that’s the case, then go for it! I felt incomplete without my favourite subjects, too.
      That’s so nice that you have honest intentions! All the best πŸ™‚

  2. It’s like I needed this, Ilsa. To see you do so well in class and end up doing something completely different came as a shock to all of us. I, for one thing, never realised how strong your passion was until today. Brilliant decision, I wish I had the fortitude to make such decisions in my life. Have a wonderful life ahead, may it all come down to what it matters the most – your happiness. InshALLAH.

    1. Thank you so much, Sanober! I did realise people wanted to know why I’ve decided to take a different route altogether. I am glad this explained things.
      Your comment has been so encouraging! πŸ™‚
      In Shaa Allah. All the best to you too.

  3. I’m still confused about what to do. I want to become an author In sha Allah. But I also want a professional degree in my hands. I’m you decided yo listen to your heart because no matter what you do, people will always have something to say! Good luck! πŸ˜€

  4. You should be grateful that you have the luxury to select your career.
    Most people are not so blessed. Many a times, circumstances shape the decisions a person takes, against his/her desires.

    Waise I personally believe that our desire for self-fulfilment should not dictate our career decision over logic. Rather logic and reasoning should supersede self-fulfilment, however that may too be kept in view and reasonable concessions may be made.

    Of course, ‘log kya kahein ge’ is so stupid that it doesn’t even quality as factor effecting career choice.

    1. Hello Mustafa.
      True, I should be grateful for having the luxury to select my career. I am thankful of my friends and family for making it so easy for me. Some people have told me that their situation is not such where they can do the same, so I do understand your point of view. Every person has his or her story to tell, and I hope and pray we all achieve what we want to.
      Thank you for your feedback πŸ™‚

  5. Darling GUDIJAN

    1. Walaikumassalam.
      Alhamdulilah for such lovely grandparents and family who are always there for me.
      Please convey my gratitude to Nana and Nani for their good wishes. May Allah give them peace and good health.
      Love and duaas, Ilsa.

  6. Ilsaaaaaa…..
    hey, i am lost for words. you have always written such good pieces and now… its like… wow man! i went through the same thing and your words just sum up all of it so so beautifully :* i loved the last part where you praised Allah and called Him the best of planners cos He definitely is, we just dont realise it sometimes.

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