He blames me of misguiding him. He thinks that his degree is a piece of s**t, wastage of money and time, killer of the hopes of his parents. And for this he blames me, because as a senior I motivated them to continue their career in linguistics, because I told them that linguistics was going to have a bright future. So he blames me for all that. But you, the reader, be just, and tell me. Was I wrong doing so? But first of all let me explain in detail so you may understand what do I mean when I say “he blames me”.
I was one of the lost children of my nation who didn't know where to go, what to do, what is the career, how to move in life, how to plan for future, what would be the consequences of studying science, arts or commerce. I studied science in matric because “intelligent” students were supposed to study science. It was in fashion, and as I was unfortunately considered an “intelligent” student I opted for science. Thank God there were no further choices in science, it was just Biology, Chemistry, Physics with Maths as compulsory subject. I studied and got good marks, 79% actually.
When I encountered a college first time in my life, and got prospectus again I was confused to select. My friend, actually best friend at that time, was opting for science and per-engineering (Physics, Chemistry, Maths). So I opted for science as well as per-engineering. Science because I had started thinking myself “intelligent” and per-engineering because my friend was also opting for it. That's another story that our sections were separate, we just met in the morning we were coming to college or in afternoon while going home on bicycles. My performance was rather poor in intermediate and I only managed to get 62% something marks.
Two years passed like two minutes and again I was standing there, thinking what to do next. I was not “intelligent” as I used to be. I had financial issues in front of me. My friends moved to engineering, telecommunication, repeating intermediate examination to get good marks and so to get admission in engineering university. I was left behind, thinking what to do. Then someone told me opt commerce subjects in graduation. And I did. I'd never studied commerce in my life. There were subject choice available in intermediate named Intermediate in Commerce (I. Com.) but as I had studied science, there was a little problem for me. But I got it as a challenge. I worked a bit harder, and tried to get good marks in Bachelors of Commerce (B. Com.) part 1, 62% actually. I found in this period that accounts, commerce, business, economics were not that difficult as they looked like. In second part, however, I couldn't maintain my percentage and finally I could barely secure 60% i.e. first division.
I was thinking myself to be a teacher somewhere in some college, teaching commerce. So my intention was to pursue for M. Com. (thank God I was a little bit clear about my career after 20 years of my life). But this was not the case with fate. My fate led me to Linguistics. It was really ironic for me when I was informed that I couldn't get admission in M. Com. at Govt. College University, Faisalabad. The Commerce Department had conducted test plus interview. I passed test, and they failed me in interview with 0 mark. If they had given me 1 mark, I was in. But I couldn't get admission because there was someone else who had a giant behind himself endorsing him for admission. So I, a refused Shakir, turned to Allama Iqbal Open University for MBA, and started looking for jobs. What kind of Jobs? Job was to get a home tuition, to teach in an academy, to work with someone as a computer assistant.
I did these jobs for a few months. As mentioned earlier, I was working as a computer assistant with someone. And here happened the most ironic twist of my life. The people I was working with as assistant (now my teachers) convinced me to leave commerce and study linguistics. OHH MY GOD :-@. Can someone has such a twisted educational path as I have? But I accepted that and 3rd time in my life changed my field Science > Commerce > Linguistics. So I worked for them in the morning, and took classes in the evening. It was not a regular program, just a post graduate diploma in which I was granted admission on continuous insistence of the teachers I was working with. Other member of the Department of English, including the head weren't convinced that I could be allowed to study English Language Teaching. But I did it, I got admission, I completed the degree.
Here, before coming to this degree, for the first time in my life, I was crystal clear. I knew where I've to go. I had a path in front of me. I knew that there was not going back. I had burned my boats. I was now a linguistics learner for whole of my life. My job was to teach English, research on Urdu and Punjabi and translate (as I later became). I had started a 10 year plan for my life. Because PGD was not enough, so after PGD, I went for MSc in 2008. In the mean time, thanks to a very kind person, Talmeez, as I mentioned above, I started working as translator. With the passage of time I got better, my interests developed in corpus linguistics, computer assisted linguistic research, computer assisted language teaching, research on Urdu and Punjabi. And now I am here, after one year of my masters, seeking to get admission in M Phil, working as a translator, having worked as a teacher for 1 year, looking forward to PhD.
And now, today, he says to me that I betrayed him. He thinks his education is just a piece of s**t and I am one of the responsibles. But how he can blame me for all this? Hadn't he a mind in his head? Couldn't he think of a better way at the time of admission? The reality is that he was like me, like one of thousands of students who are left behind, because they are not “intelligent” so they can't study science and can't be doctors or engineers. So they move to arts, they complete BA, then they move to specific areas of arts, Sociology, Psychology, Islamic Studies, Business, and English (to include now Linguistics as well) etc. They don't know where to got, they just follow others, sometimes they seek some department to get admission in because their marks are not enough for merit in certain other departments. We faced this dilemma for last several years in Applied Linguistics Department. Students who came here for admission had lowest grades, no idea to move where to, seeking for some magic degree which could give them employment. We as old students motivated them, told them about the benefits they could get after becoming a linguist, ones who convinced took admission and got degree. And now one of them blames me. Is he right doing this?
Sir Asim used to tell that Winners have place in linguistics not Loosers. So I ask them all, are they winners? Are they having something in them? Any spark? Good grades? Abilities? Motivation? Courage? Patience? If they don't have all this, then they should blame all of the world which is against them.
Our students need to realise the world is not a bed of roses. They think that every thing would be just fine once they get the degree. The employer will be standing at front door of their house requesting them to honour him by joining his organisation. This is not a Utopia, an ideal world. This is real life with all cold bitter harsh realities of life. You have to struggle, you have to be a winner, if you are not, you have no place here. I would suggest my juniors do not expect miracles for themselves. 1400 years ago Angels have stopped coming to this world to create miracles, now we are on our own. You should have faith in Allah, thankfulness for what He has given you, and courage to struggle patiently. This is not the end, this is beginning of a new degree, Masters in Life. Here you will learn for all of your life, you will get good grades only if you are capable. And remember in the tests of life, there is least chance of cheating. May Allah be with you all.