Assalamualaikum Brother Aiman,
I don’t know if you will read this, but I’ll have a go at it anyway.
After secondary school, I got into the engineering program. I had no idea why I picked that program because I had no interest in it. Maybe I was influenced by my peers in school, or maybe I was mesmerized by its “wow” factor. I mean, it’s engineering…come on.
In the beginning, I didn’t want to go into the program but my teacher asked me to give it a go. My teacher said that interest can be cultivated. But I ended up hating the program – I didn’t understand it, I couldn’t study, every night I called my mom wanting to go home, and my pointers were just enough for me to get by.
I didn’t want to waste my time there so I quit. Thankfully, my parents understood me.
But I had no idea what to do then. I had no idea what program to take. So I applied into anything that I found was easy. Sadly, none of my applications got through.
I wonder why God did this to me. All my friends managed to get a place in their university, but not me.
I had to face a lot of resentment from people. They asked me, “So, are you still on vacation?” Some even said that I have failed. It hurts, and I don’t know when it will end. I feel like I want to cover my face when I go outside. I am tired and I don’t think I have the strength to face all of this.
When will this end?
But anyhow, I haven’t given up yet. I called universities, I sent letters, and I sent my secondary school transcript. I am still trying. I don’t know what else to do besides that. I know I have the potential if I study well and if I believe in myself.
I don’t know why I’m telling you all this. I don’t know if anyone is willing to listen, or not. But if there are those who are willing to lend me their ears, please pray for me. I hope God still give me a chance to make something of my life, and to move on.
Thank you for your honest email. I appreciate your willingness to share your story with me.
Allow me to begin with two important points:
No. 1, if you are going for something you are not interested in, chances are you are not going to like it.
No. 2, we have to stop ranking jobs. One job is not superior to the other. An engineer is not better than a garbage man. We need both in this world that we currently live in. I mean, imagine a world without garbage men.
Any honest job is a good job, and if you are positively contributing to the society by doing that job, that’s great, and if you find satisfaction in doing that job, that is even better.
Interest or passion can be cultivated. I have met people who didn’t love what they do at first, but they learn to love it as they go along. That is great.
But, if you have tried your best and you have tried to find interest and passion in what you are doing, but you could not find it, then I think it is a form of emotional torture to keep walking on that path.
You want to enjoy what you do, not endure it.
If you decided to quit, then good for you. There is no rule that forces you to keep on pursuing something that you hate. However, I am not saying that if you don’t love what you do, you should quit cold turkey. Ask for advice. Consult wise people before you make your decision.
I am fully aware that each individual situation is different, but my main point is this: if you want to do something for the rest of your life, as a career choice, then it makes sense to choose something that you love doing (provided that it’s not illegal or morally wrong of course).
Never pursue something just because it is easy. Pursue something because you love it, not because it is easy. Sometimes what you love is easy. Sometimes what you love is hard. But either way it doesn’t matter because you would find enjoyment and satisfaction in it nonetheless. Plus, difficult things build character.
If you have no idea what to do, it’s okay to try things out. Explore new things. See if anything resonates with you or not. It’s okay to take your time. There’s no rule that says that you have to be in university by this age and you have to graduate by this age.
I have met people who are much, much older than me sitting in the same class as me in university. One person in particular had grey hair and needed a cane to walk. So there is no age limit to learning and exploring.
For some people, finding passion is easy – they already figured out what to do with their life from the very beginning. But for others, it is not as easy. They have to go out, explore, and figure things out – that process requires time, patience, and determination.
And hey, a little bit of help from the people around who actually care can go a long way.