From Rotis to Results: A Homemaker\\\’s Academic Adventure

When a celebrity’s kid does even something as small as sneezing it becomes a sensational news. So imagine when a celebrity, that too someone in their late 40’s starts with their masters studies, the amount of recognition, attention and appreciation they would get!

Unfortunately, for me though being in my mid 40’s, when I completed all the final submissions for my masters program there was no one to celebrate with. Moreover, on completing my program I wouldn’t get the kind of recognition, attention and appreciation, of course I’m no celebrity!

Twinkle Khanna enrolled in a master’s program abroad, moved there with her daughter, had to do her chores, make new friends, change apartments, all on her own, so much trouble. But luckily for her there was an army of maids/staff handling her house back home in India, she has a huge privilege financially too. When she joined her master’s she could give her undivided attention to the course and the best part is the accolades she received while and after completing it. Lucky girl!

On the other hand, an ordinary unknown citizen like me around the same age as her decides to study again and start her master’s course during COVID 19 lockdown, backed by nothing else but my will power and determination to complete it. No maids, no help, not as much financially endowed as Twinkle Khanna. I opted for distance learning as it wasn’t possible to join full time regular course. Cooking warm meals three times a day, stocking up the pantry for the same, cleaning, taking care of my family’s needs and in between all this whirlwind of chores trying to finish my assignments to be submitted on time, was a challenging task! To peacefully concentrate and write my assignments I chose 12 a.m. to 3 a.m. as it was most comfortable time for me. Yes you read it right 12 a.m.-3 a.m.! Everyday after completing the day’s work I would sit down armed with my mobile phone a couple of pens and my notebook and start researching and writing my assignments. In first year there were six assignments for each of six theory papers. Apart from completing the assignments, studying for them was another challenge, because when you’re a home maker taking care of your duties and responsibilities at home front, your mind is always racing! Worried about what needs to be done next, then next and after that! This non stop thinking process wouldn’t stop come what may, making it impossible to concentrate on studies. Add to that learning the topic of statistics was another humungous task in itself! As if these challenges weren’t enough one shouldn’t forget that age too starts acting up, in the terms that you try to memorize a definition ten times but the eleventh time you still cannot blurt it out verbatim! Such frustration! After all the grey cells have given up, it\\\’s like they’re mocking at you!

I would be so tired, while writing the assignments I used to literally doze off, the pen would just draw a long shapeless line on the paper as my senses had already given up long before my hand would. Initially, when I started writing my arm used to pain a lot the next day, eventually it got used to writing and filling up all the blank pages.

YouTube was the biggest boon for me, it was the best teacher I had by my side available at my beck and call. I studied a lot of concepts with help of various informative videos on some very good channels on YouTube. Equipped with Bluetooth wireless headphones and my mobile with unlimited high speed internet, well placed on a wheat flour dabba, my eyes kept shifting gaze between the rotis on the tava and the videos playing on the phone. Since most of the daily chores are well registered in the muscle memory it wasn’t difficult to concentrate on the concept being taught in the video while completing the umpteen monotonous tasks. This was the only way I had to make time to finish my studies well before the final exams. It was a stark realization that studying after a gap of 22 years wasn’t easy at all. But then I was determined!

I remember how I studied day and night before my finals, luckily for me that paid off well, the result was the witness of it all. First year completed, I was ecstatic, but it was just me, celebration my success all alone silently. I did share the news with few of my friends who knew I had appeared for first year masters, they were happy and congratulated me. My husband and daughter too congratulated me, but that just felt like a formality. The kind of happiness I felt I didn’t notice anyone understand that. My parents are pretty old school they didn’t really understand what I was doing, they knew yes I’m studying for something and I passed.

The real challenge was in the 2nd year, three theory papers and three practicals one of them would be internship. The University from where I am pursuing the degree is absolutely of no help at all, you’re completely on your own to figure everything out. Trust me it is not an easy task when they need you to submit everything in exactly according to the format they want without any explanation as to how to go about the whole process. Here the bigger challenge is figuring out the process, the details of what goes into each practical file otherwise you face a high chance of getting your work rejected. After completing 5 out of 6 papers I was left with internship to be completed. For more than a year I searched for appropriate internship options but all in vain. I couldn’t get any internship at all. Checking LinkedIn everyday, calling innumerable NGO’s, meeting so many counseling agencies just to hear we do not have any vacancy as of now. Rejection after rejection and time was running out, more than time my patience was at the bottom level. I was extremely dejected, I wanted my course to get over with and receive my degree, the culmination of my more than two years of hard work.

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Finally, all my prayers were answered, I found someone who understood my pain and offered me an internship. Tears escaped my eyes even without my knowledge, I was so grateful to her for taking me as an intern in her organization. Once again the deadline to submit the internship file was nearing and I started my earlier routine of completing the writing work from 12.00 a.m. to 3 a.m. Sleeping at 3.00 a.m. only to get up again at 6.30 for my daughter’s school timings. I did take a nap in the afternoon. Though the last date for submission was 30th November but I had set last date for me as 25th, I didn’t want to procrastinate. Finally, on 26th November I uploaded my complete internship file. The relief, the happiness that I felt can’t be explained in words. Though the final results for this one are awaited, I felt sheer plain sense of achievement. This was the successful culmination of the course from my end. The whole process of last three years flashed before my eyes, the way I studied while going about my daily chores, the way I used to stay up only to start again early morning next day, it all felt worth it!

But whom could I share my happiness with? People around me were oblivious about all that I felt, they went about their routines. I felt a sense of void. There was no one to cheer me, pat my back and say well done! Is this what growing up does? If it were a child who achieved well in his/her studies or extra curricular activities, everyone cheers for them so much, appreciates and congratulates them. But here I was an adult well into her 40’s, no one saw me more than just a house wife, what was there to cheer about? Since I am no celebrity, the world isn’t going to cheer for me, so finally I decided to be my own cheerleader! I celebrated my success by myself! And three cheers for all those who are sailing in the same boat as me… let’s be our own cheerleader, we deserve it!




About the Author

Heena Shah

Mother to a bubbly teenager and a student of psychology, Heena is also a travel enthusiast. She loves to observe the happenings around her and weave them into beautiful stories. A writer with a passion read more...

28 Posts | 42,260 Views

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