Growing up.

Maybe its because I have been reading a bit of psychology and sociology these days whereby they try to decipher the complex puzzle that human mind is.
One of the potent article I stumbled upon was on the effect of high school on our psyche and personality. Reading through, it reminded me of the notion that I frequently used to say , “dude..what’s gonna change once you are out of college…will most of us carry the same personality? May be some will get conformed by social norms…or…” or as one say life took its toll on him. “Ohhh he/she used to be so cheerful when I last saw her, now he/she seems so quiet and dull. I wonder what happened.”

Now what exactly happened then , is what interests these sociologist & psychologists.

Given that the Indian high school upbringing is not like the one discussed in [1], but I can say safely that for an Indian student graduate college is the defining one. Most of us esp those who are pursuing science, will start toiling to prepare for competitive exams. (And man they are competitive.)

For more than half a century, one aptitude test has determined the self-esteem, future and even the spouses of generations of Indian adolescents, chiefly boys.”

For those who decide that its not their cup of tea, they go on with their family business or move onto other streams. Now point to be noted is if you are not from science background it is going to get difficult. There is a particular social stigma to be beared by Indian students. Probably that’s why once we are through getting our degrees, we start thinking what-if we would have taken music or sports. In that sense India sure is losing talent. There are few who get out of this circle and get on with their non-science passion, away from crowd and pursue something that fuels their passion. But now a days I think the trend is changing and we have started to observe a surge in interest getting developed in liberal arts and other non traditional fields.
Well I have been digressing from the topic, but as I write this, a part of me would have loved to study psychology or sociology. ( but thanks for the web age of millennials, I can still hunt for these may-be fields, but all said and done I always wanted to be an engineer !! )As I told previously graduate college is a defining moment, for Indians instead of a high-school. Hence I saw quite a few friends change drastically before & after college. One who would sneer at the drinks party. Booze was like a strict no-no for them, probably then they were still in process of shedding old skin. And when I met them few years later I was quite amazed seeing these guys and girls, now active adherents of the popular culture. Well everyone has a gestation period !!

But still I would say that there are few who still remained true to their words, and are still teetotallers. And why just keep this with parties hub-bub etc, the same thing happened with ‘maggu juntaa’ , somewhere in middle they realised that grades do not define a man. Same thing with Jocks, and cheerleaders crowd. But sadly few got lost in, as Bono sings it, “city of blinding lights”.

“It’s also abundantly, poignantly clear that during puberty, kids have absolutely no clue how to assess character or read the behaviour of others….statistics also suggest that teenagers cannot tell when they are being rejected (Hey, guys, wait for me!) or even accepted (I thought you hated me). So much of what they think they know about others’ opinions of them is plain wrong.”

Right after graduating from college they started earning, and everything was within their pocket’s reach. And then there were credit cards too. Some have lost their existence to the world of marijuana. Well as a teenager I used to look at my senior uncles and brothers, imagine so what’s gonna happen when I will reach their age? They have these careers and all, so how does their personality evolves? what are their insecurities? Questions like these would be beyond my thinking domain , (and were not coherent enough for me to bug my parents.) Yet as of today I have like some 8-9 years between my school days and this moment, I have started to get the gist to those questions.

…in the sense that it’s the last shared cultural experience we have before choosing different paths in our lives. But for years, I’d never quite understood why high-school values are so different from adult ones.

I think that there is a culture of what we say “bhed-chaal”, and most of us will follow the flock. Try to dress like our peers do, trying to act like them . No one wants to be left out .So in essence individual got to realise when they want to mature. And the transitive years are the ones which provide them with experience- some good, some bad, but experiences nonetheless.
As the author points out correctly…

“…which tells me this is about more than just personality. It’s about interpersonal relations. High school is when you learn how to master social relationships—and to understand how, basically, to ‘play the game. Or don’t.”

And with the advent of facebook and social media, suddenly there is a flood of knowledge, I know what my friends from high school are doing ,including the folks with whom I did not even interact.Probably none of us would admit it fully, but the social media is changing our personality in its own subtle way. Time and again we have this friend who isn’t on facebook, or maybe not even on internet. Probably after ten years from now I will write about how social media and internet defined my generation.

[1] Why you never truly leave high school

[2] Rethinking the mother of all exams


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