We live in a society where we need to explain every little thing about ourselves. ‘What is your surname?’, ‘Which caste do you belong to?’, ‘Which religion do you follow?.’ – These are the questions I frequently encounter when interacting with people right from my school days and nothing seems to change even now when I am a Post Graduate. I first came across an unsolicited advice before my 10th Boards exam registration that I should ask my parents to let me write my surname so that my caste and religion could be known to everyone or else I will face problem during admissions and jobs. That day I questioned myself what is wrong with my name and how does my caste or religion matter? Questions about my name has drawn my interest to understand the thought process of people around me. My name is Monsoon Rupam and I love it how my name doesn’t allow anyone recognize me on the basis of my caste or religion. I belong to a beautiful state of North East India, Assam and Nagaon district of Assam is my hometown. I have stayed in three districts due to my father’s transferrable job and my studies. Each place has given me different experiences and learnings that I will always take with me and I might be moving to another few districts in future which will bring me more beautiful experiences, learnings and memories. Having passed my 10th board exams I took admission in a junior college and there I was introduced to Sociology. But taking Humanities was another issue with some people. I secured distinction in my 10th boards and people were assuming I would opt for Science. According to some, opting for Humanities was foolish of me because ‘I had the capability to study Science.’ I never got this logic and I never will. Some people believe that Science stream is only for the “bright students “. But isn’t it about interest? There is no specific stream for the bright or the dull but I was tired of answering this every time. My family always gave me the freedom to make my own decisions when it comes to studies. Just attended a few classes at the Junior College and I realized what I want to study. I passed my 12th boards in 2016 and got myself enrolled in Lady Keane College under North Eastern Hill University, Meghalaya and took Sociology as my honours. Three years of studying Sociology indeed made me realise that I did the right thing choosing this course as my inquisitive thoughts and interest clearly aligned with the subject matter of Sociology. My academic life was going uphill and I was enjoying my studies but it was not so with my personal life. My family went through an extremely disturbing phase in 2017 when I just wrote my papers for my first year. It was the year I lost my father and the U turn that our lives took still gives me shivers. I found it difficult to cope up with the loss and resume back to my studies away from my family in Meghalaya. Somehow, with the support of my family and friends I pushed myself to get back to my everyday life.
“Study sincerely, be true to yourself, be grateful to whatever opportunities you are getting. Wherever you go, make sure you leave behind a beautiful imprint of your presence”.
These were the words my father told me on the very first day of my college and I remember each and every word he told as I promised him the same. When I finally gathered strength to start everything afresh, these words gave me a reason to move forward. I feel so delighted now when I look back at my college life as I bagged the Best Arts Student Award 2019 for excelling in academics and extra-curricular activities. The trophy reminds me that I kept his promise. That year, I graduated and I got the second rank in University. My happiness knew no bounds. After so long, my family found a reason to be happy. That year I cleared entrance exams of almost all the Universities I appeared for my Masters degree. But I opted for the University near my home. Here, I made a mistake after being overwhelmed with a lot of career options and my indecisiveness. I had always wanted to pursue Sociology but I still could not understand why I opted for a different course for my Masters. I even attended my classes for one week but soon I realised my mistake and thought of immediately backing out. My family once again supported me which made it easy for me to mend my mistake. I had to take a year off as by then the admission procedures for all other Universities were completed. Taking a year gap was neither a problem for me nor my family but as I have already mentioned we need to explain everything to people, I was bombarded with questions like ‘Why did you drop from such a reputed university?’, ‘You’ll regret your decision’ but now I pat my shoulder for not falling weak when things were not going as I wanted. I took a break and went on a vacation with my family. I was planning to prepare for the next cycle of entrance examinations for my Masters and I promised myself to not get carried away by a lots of options. I was sure to opt for Sociology but then Covid happened. Lockdown and uncertainty of life and career started taking a toll on my peace of mind. It was so annoying finding myself amidst nowhere and doing nothing. I started meditating and yoga and within a few weeks I started feeling better. To keep myself engaged, I applied for internships and that was one of the amazing decisions I made. Interacting with new people, doing activities that I never did before, getting appreciation for my work during the times when I put myself under the scanner of self doubt, I started feeling good about myself and regained my lost confidence. I analysed my interests, my dreams and I knew where I want to see myself in future. I started preparing for NET exams during the lockdown period. When the lockdown situation was getting under control, I got into Dibrugarh University in Assam. I was a complete different person when I started my Masters degree. I was confident and ready to take any challenge. The one year gap was a blessing in disguise for me. It was the time I discovered myself, gave myself some time. I believe in “Everything happens for a reason” and till now I am convinced to believe this. I performed well in my semester exams and I could achieve the Governor’s Gold Medal of Excellence for securing highest Cumulative Grade Point Average in Final Semester Examination in Sociology from Dibrugarh University. My family rejoiced once again. Meanwhile I cleared my UGC NET-JRF examination in my first attempt under the guidance of my Professors in the University. Their words of encouragement never made me lose hope and I am forever grateful to them. I am looking forward to pursue PhD and contribute whatever I can to the academic field. God has been very kind to me and I believe the hardships that I have faced and still facing have a reason behind. These hardships are nothing but life lessons that nobody teach us but life itself. Our careers run across bumpy roads sometimes but at the end it depends on us how we try to keep ourselves on track. Self rejection, self doubt, under confidence are our biggest enemies and I have faced consequences by letting these negativities take over me. What I have realised so far is that if we accept the challenges that comes our way with a positive attitude, no obstacle can stop us from reaching our goals. It is always the mindset.
We hope you enjoyed reading Monsoon’s inspiring story, which is part of Social Stories, a brainchild of the Sociology Group. If you come across any impactful stories, please write to us. For more details about Social Stories and how to submit a story, please read the following article.