Securing admission in one of the most prestigious courses in Delhi University is often considered an admirable feat but most of it fades away with a blur, because Economics is as intricate and demanding as it is interesting and sought-after. Here are a few realisations from my experience of studying Economics in Delhi University.
1. Everyone thinks you’re really smart and are going to get a job right out of college ( …while in reality, neither of the two might be true):
Sure, Economics does enjoy a best-of-both worlds status with its combination of Humanities and technical subjects like Mathematics and Statistics, but the kind of things people from other courses believe about the subject would put your own misconceptions about it to shame. I have lost count of the number of times I have been told “Oh man, you Eco people are so smart.” Try getting into a discussion about the difficulty of finding jobs or internships and you usually get a vague “But Economics has a lot of scope for jobs.”
It doesn’t matter if you’re barely scraping by in your classes or don’t even want to pursue a career in Economics (or a branch of Economics considered ‘employable’), being an economics student will doom you to silent participation in discussions related to jobs and relative smartness with students from other courses, no matter how irrational their beliefs about the course may be.
2. Coming to terms with the not-always-so-great scores:
Having scored ridiculously well in class 12 and the consequent adulation on having done that and getting into Economics at DU can condition anyone into believing that they belong to the smarter lot on this planet (not to say that they actually don’t because how do you define smartness anyway?) It can be pretty hard to come to terms with the fact that you will not always score as well as what you were used to. This can, of course, be due to a number of factors which include developing more interests and hobbies and having more of a life in college than you did in class 12. Just as you start telling yourself the whole “Oh, but no one scores that well in college,” some of your classmates might start popping up scores over 95%, which will leave you feeling a little anxious and listless.
The thing that no one tells you is that it’s okay. It’s okay to have your scores drop a little (or more). The kind of teaching and evaluation you were used to in school is different from that of a university and it affects not only the way your papers are marked but also your motivation to study (remember when not studying had consequences in terms of your favourite teacher giving you concerned looks and maybe even a lecture-cum-pep talk?) College is about finding time for things other than academics as well. If you develop a passion for photography or debating or social issues like feminism and dedicate time to them, you’re really not worse off for it, no matter what your scores or elders may tell you.
3 Dealing with a tougher and more technical subject:
Economics includes subjects with just theory and others which are purely technical. Unlike other subjects, just a general idea of a concept or derivations to get a formula aren’t enough. For a level of understanding adequate enough to be able to score really well and to build future concepts on requires quite a bit of effort and the ability to go through the same concept with little tweaks (case in point, who can forget the the effects of various policy measure in the IS-LM which affected the money and goods market equilibria?)
This makes Economics an even tougher subject to study after missing classes due to a festival or other society obligations.There have been cases of students who were forced to drop out of their chosen societies and clubs because they were unable to cope academically.
However, there have also been people who have done well both academically and for their societies. It’s a matter of finding a routine which may not be perfect but works for you. Communicating with teachers about some extra help during tutorials or free periods works well. Having friends who are more regular and also free with sharing notes and knowledge never hurts either.
4. Attending Seminars and Career Counselling Sessions urging you towards MBA:
You look forward to seminars and career counselling cessions as a way of broadening your horizons about the available options after graduation. Some of these are excellent and do achieve what they were meant to do, but others come across as having a (not so) hidden agenda to herd as many students as possible to business schools. Hearing about the many merits of MBA over other non-specified options gets tiresome after a point of time and you start to wonder why you even bother to attend any sessions at all.
The one-sided view of doing MBA also leaves you with a lack of knowledge about other things you can pursue. Forget about inter-disciplinary courses or things like Journalism, after a point you’d probably be refreshed to hear about pursuing Masters and getting into academia.
5. Testing your love for Economics:
Let’s be honest, not everyone took up economics because they were genuinely interested in the subject. Being able to clear the cut-off for the course and it being one of the most prestigious ones available were probably reasons enough for many to opt for it. If you were one of those who took it up based on interest, you’ll probably find your love for it being tested from time to time. The reason could be anything from not enough time dedicated to understanding concepts or inadequate teaching or the rigorous but at-times boring textbooks which also leave you with little time to explore other interesting sources to study from. If you took up Economics for the heck of it, there might be moments of you cursing yourself for not opting for an easier subject.
The only way out is to keep going and give the subject, and yourself, a chance every time you feel like it’s gone over your head. At the end of three years, a lot of people who came with a torch for Economics might end up leaving with other passions they’ll want to pursue and people who didn’t care very much about the subject might end up developing a strong taste for it. The subject will test you in ways examinations won’t- it’s always easier to score than it is to get a crystal-clear understanding of concepts- but your new-found understanding of the functioning of this world will be worth it.
You should also check out:
10 things I learnt about college in my first year | by Kriti Sharma, Student, University of Delhi.
10 pieces of advice from a third year student | By Priyanka Banerjee, Student, University of Delhi.
5 things they don’t tell you in an Engineering College.