Once again like the other posts, since the internet is already littered with answers to this question in a general point of view, this will be about what Physics means to me.
TL;DR – I love it.
But there’s really more to it.
To give you a little background about what I was as a child, till I was about 8 – 9 years old, the only thing I used to watch on TV was the Discovery Channel. When I was too young, it was because I didn’t know how to change channels and that’s what my mom used to put on (apparently, I used to get happy looking at animals) but later on, I really did fall in love with looking at animals, space, and everything else that they used to show. I usually couldn’t understand a word of what they talked about, but child-me didn’t care. Then when I grew up and my interest in science matured a little and I got exposed to the internet, I started reading up on more and more scientific theories. YouTube helped me get a visual understanding of the various phenomena that I used to read about and this combination of reading articles and watching videos on YouTube was what comprised a huge chunk of my free time as a kid.
Nobody else in my family or my friend circle ever really had an inclination towards science, so the little curious scientist in me, for lack of conversation and discussion about all these new cutting edge ideas that I had been reading about, slowly died out. This dying out of the fire was further sped up when I had been included in that circle of “cool” people in school, because their minds and interests were at the completely opposite end of the spectrum.
Fast forward to the beginning of my gap year. All I used to study during this time was physics because I had grown to love it (refer old posts for a history lesson in me). But at this point of time, I was still unclear about what the end goal was, about what I really was taking a gap year for. I knew I had only two options: engineering or Physics, and I also knew that I most certainly did not want to go for engineering but there was still a part of me that was confused because I knew about the kind of lavish lives that successful engineers lived and about how much money they made.
Enter my most favourite bhua (aunt, in English) in the world.
She was, and still is, the kind of person that you only hear about but never meet. The kind that is always radiating positivity. The kind that will ALWAYS manage to pick you up, no matter how deep the hole you’ve fallen into. She was visiting India from Dubai and was staying in our home and that visit of hers, literally changed the course of my entire life.
She and I spent an entire night just bouncing ideas off of each other. She is more bent towards a spiritual point of view than a scientific one but she was so excited to listen to me talk and teach her about all the weird things about quantum physics and the explanations of some common phenomena. That night, during one of my explanations, I found myself visibly shaking from excitement. After hoarding so much science in my head for so long, I was finally getting it all out, and I was shaking. It was also the first time that someone was asking me questions that I had never heard before; asking for explanations to various things that I had never thought of. I was giving her answers and then we were confirming with Google. I was thrilled to find out that most of my answers were exactly on point and the ones that weren’t still got the basics right. That night I realised a couple of things. First, I was good at teaching people; coming up with explanations and examples on the spot. Second, my understanding of the concepts that I had studied so far was crystal clear, and third, that physics excited me to no bounds.
So I told her that I was confused as to what I’m actually going to be doing after an year, and that if I become an engineer, I’ll lead a lavish life because I know I have the brains to be successful, but I might not end up happy, or I could go into the sciences, have a comfortable life, but the success won’t be guaranteed. She told me to go for whatever excited me more, and that was it. That night after we had wished each other good night (at around 4 AM) and I had gotten into bed, was my moment of clarity. That was the moment I knew for sure what I wanted to do.
So, I guess if there is a lesson that you might want to take from this, then it would be that don’t ever do what others might want you to do. Don’t ever do what might make you miserable in the future. It’s okay if you can’t see it through to the end, you can always take a step back and start over. If there’s anything at all in life that you feel you can call YOURS, anything you feel where your heart truly lies, then that’s probably what you should be doing. Just go do whatever makes you happy. There is no profession or job (I might seem unqualified to say this since I’m still in college, but I think I know what I’m talking about) where you won’t have to work hard, so why not work hard at something you love? So you do that, and I can promise you, you’ll never have to worry about failure.
That’s all I have to say today!