“Science or Commerce?” they asked me. “Arts.”, I replied.
“Arts? Is that a stream?” asked my puzzled ground floor neighbor.
“Even my daughter draws and paints well. Wait, I will show you her art work.” said my first floor neighbor, ransacking the cupboards and finally presenting the scrapbook.
“But you achieved a high percentage, why Arts?” questioned my second floor neighbor, who for the life of her, couldn’t comprehend why I would choose Arts when I could safely secure a seat in Science or Commerce. “After all, Arts should be kept as a last resort. It is an easy option meant for those who are unable to make the cut.” she tried to justify.
“The Arts stream is a cakewalk. The subjects are child’s play.” assumed my third floor neighbor. “Why not try a challenging stream like Science or Commerce?” she asked, weighing the options.
“Oh, so you will become a teacher.” concluded my fourth floor neighbor.
All proud Arts students will agree to have encountered at least one of the above mentioned neighbors. I will attempt to answer the questions of my neighbors who expressed shock and bewilderment on learning my decision. I will try to clear all assumptions, misconceptions and justifications that envelop the Arts stream.
To my ground and first floor neighbors, drawing, painting and craft-work is Art. Arts as a stream are academic disciplines that study human culture. Maybe, referring to Arts as Humanities would eventually, hopefully, lead to enlightenment for those ignorantly unaware as well as those ignorantly aware.
To my second floor neighbor, the reason for choosing Arts is not because I chose to take the easy way out. It is because of the love of Arts – open thinking, freedom of expression, unpredictability, dynamics, life lessons and a sense of connection, all featuring under the Humanities umbrella. Indeed, Arts is not a last option, it is the first option for many.
To my third floor neighbor, perhaps attempting a mind-boggling Psychology paper or studying the numerous theories of Sociology would throw light and maybe, help change perspectives. An insight will prove worthy of the cause. The Arts stream is as challenging as Science or Commerce, to each its own share of challenges.
To my fourth floor neighbor, becoming a teacher is righteous and any noble person would love to be one. But it is not the only option available to Arts students. Media, Counseling, Event Management, Travel & Tourism, Law, Human Resources, Banking, Civil services – the Arts stream translates to a host of career opportunities.
Finally, there is an existing, popular stereotype that the Arts stream is meant for girls only. Being a girl, I fortunately never had to face the question of a fifth neighbor, “But you are a boy. Boys don’t opt for Arts.” The justification given is that boys are supposed to provide for the home and family and therefore, graduating as an Arts student automatically means there is no hope. Perhaps that is the reason why the sex ratio in this stream is highly unbalanced. I salute all boys who paid no heed to the tittle-tattle of their neighbors, who chose Arts because of their love for the stream and are proving their decision right by achieving success in this stream.
The years spent in the Arts stream, studying subjects that are linked to everyday life, teach you to deal with life’s challenges in different circumstances, so that whatever the situation may be, you have the key to solving it. The Arts stream keeps you updated and helps you understand what’s happening in and around the world. It deals with reality.
Arts or not, it is necessary to make informed statements and conclusions. I consider opting for Arts my best decision yet.