The High Court of Kerala had recently observed that the mad scramble of the parents to force their children to join professional courses existed only in the state. The court also commented that children were losing their interest in studies as a result of such desperation shown by the parents.
However, the CBSE higher secondary toppers from Kerala A Malavika and Varsha Vijay stand apart in this regard. While Malavika studied Humanities, Varsha chose Commerce. Both of them had secured A 1 grade in all subjects in their Class 10 exams but pursued an offbeat path by skipping the Science stream for their higher secondary classes.
Malavika and Varsha speak about their experiences and future plans.
Aiming for a career in Humanities
A Malavika secured 496/500 in the CBSE higher secondary Humanities exams. Her All-India rank is 4 and Kerala rank, 1. She scored 100/100 in Economics, History and Psychology. In English and Politics, her marks were 98/100.
Malavika had struck off two answers she initially wrote during the exams. But she realized that answers were indeed correct only after reaching home. If she had scored those marks too, Malavika would have won the all-India first rank. “The experience taught me that one should have a rethink before finalizing any decision. There’s nothing more to it,” she says.
Malavika is the daughter of K G Ajith Kumar and Sindhu who live at Vysakham, Thottatthumadom, Kuranniyur at Pullad in Kozhecherry, Pathanamthitta district. She studied at Believers Church Residential School at Kuttappuzha in Thiruvalla. Malavika has a sister, Meera Krishna, who is a student.
Malavika says she has always loved reading novels and poems and so chose Humanities. However, her parents had some anxiety. “My father is a bank manager and mother is a village officer. My mother has an MSc in Mathematics. Many people told my parents that they shouldn’t ruin my career by going in for Humanities. But my parents supported me even amidst such pressure and I dedicate my rank to them,” says the proud topper.
As her parents were busy with their jobs, they could not teach Malavika at home. However, she studied by herself and did not even seek tuition teachers. “I spent 5-6 hours every day for my studies and reading. When exams approached, I made some plans with my friends and finished all the lessons,” says the youngster.
Malavika says that her immediate aim is to secure a degree in English literature from Delhi University.
“At present, I have made no plans regarding my future after the degree. Instead of securing a job soon, I want to study as much as I can. My belief is that when one studies a lot, a path would reveal itself before you,” she says.
How she tackled sceptics
According to Malavika, Humanities has as many career opportunities as Science. “A Humanities student can choose anything from a faculty position in large institutions to civil service. There are several options depending on the specialization in the degree course. For instance, a degree in Psychology makes a candidate eligible to seek a posting not only in the government sector but also in non-governmental organizations. Similarly, there are openings in Development, Planning and other sectors beneficial to the society,” points out Malavika.
In addition, students with a Humanities degree can enter diverse fields such as cinema, television, theatre, media, law, business management, tourism and others, adds the youngster.
Studying Commerce aiming for IIM
Varsha Vijay scored 496/500 in CBSE higher secondary Commerce to become the fourth rank holder from India and first in Kerala. She secured 100/100 in Accountancy, Economics and IT. In English and Business Studies, Varsha had 98 marks.
When Varsha won A 1 grade in all subjects for her Class 10 exams and chose Commerce, teachers and relatives were curious. “Why didn’t you join Science,” the asked.
Though her parents too had their own doubts, they supported Varsha’s decision. The youngster, who decided to pursue the path she liked, proved that her preference was correct by winning the first rank in the state for her higher secondary course.
Daughter of Vijayakumar, a stenographer with Doordarshan and Sujatha, Varsha studied at Kendriya Vidyalaya, East Hill, Kozhikode. Her brother Vysakh is an interior designing student.
Why she chose Commerce
Varsha says she decided not to go in for Science simply because everyone preferred the subject. “Moreover, Business was one of the subjects I liked. But even when I decided to join the Commerce stream, I had set no career goal. It was only after the classes started that I decided to try for an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) after my degree,” she says.
The youngster’s immediate aim is to join BCom (Finance) at one among the prestigious colleges in India. Alongside, she wants to start preparations for the Common Admission Test (CAT) for IIMs. “The studies in online mode can be launched now itself,” she feels.
As Varsha had shifts at school, she needed to reach there only by 12 noon. “That gave me 2-3 hours to study in the morning,” she reveals.
Varsha’s favourite hobbies are reading and painting.
Prospects of Commerce
“Numerous opportunities await Commerce students depending on the specialization they choose. In fact, several openings exist in corporate firms. Apart from traditional jobs in Accounting, new jobs are being created in sectors such as Business Management, Chartered Accountancy, Auditing, Taxation, Company Secretaryship, Banking, Stock Broking and others,” says Varsha.
A Commerce student can venture into teaching, law and civil service too, she adds.