Students Speak about Quitting "Koleyat Al Qemma"

No one could ever deny that we're in a society that judges people according to their degree and what university they graduated from. We've been brainwashed that any major in the world can be taken and summarized in a number of courses and that we don't necessarily have to enter a specific major in order to pursue it as a career. The main question here, is why? Why should we only study Medicine, Engineering, Pharmacy and everything else in this lane in order to be "addressed" as successful? People's perspectives about "Koleyat Al Qemma" are still the same, even if they don’t talk about it that frequently anymore.

Frankly speaking, we're in a country that ignores the passion and glorifies the grades and it's been like that for as long as we've existed. The point is, it's never about grades and it never was, because grades come when passion exists. I think that we're all nerds, but in different fields and aspects. See, we know people who stay up all night writing and skip outings to work, we know people who don't get enough sleep because they're too busy working on a painting. On the other hand, we know people who wake up early each morning to study biology and learn more about science, we know people who solve math in their free time and those who have fun in the chemistry lab. We even know those who are nerds in sports and train six hours a day. What I want to highlight is the mere fact that, the more we grow up, the more we should understand that everyone should have this thing or this zone that they're willing to dedicate their time to; this thing that makes them wake up early in the morning and forget to sleep later on.

Everyone should actually be a nerd in something because that's what passion is all about; passion is finding the one thing you want to be a nerd in for the rest of your life, let it be in art, sports, a specific major or anything in this lane. Hence, if for one second, you were not happy about what you're doing, quit it and stop caring about what the society has to say, but don't stay in a place that you absolutely hate for the sake of a degree.

We talked with four inspiring students who transferred from a so-called "Koleyet Qemma" to a normal one, as they didn't find their passion there; we knew how the process went, the reactions of their parents and how they were willing to leave everything behind because they weren't happy anymore with what they're studying, even if the whole society thought otherwise.

Lina Abaza (From Pharmacy to Business)

"First of all, long ago, I wanted to become a vet, but I couldn't. Hence, I entered Pharmacy as I thought it may be something close to what I wanted, but as the semesters passed, I realized that it isn't getting any easier and that there's nothing that I'm interested in or anything that I love there. After my third semester, I decided to transfer because I realized that I'd never work in the pharmacy field and that I hate it. I was scared at the beginning; the whole idea was overwhelming, but then I made up my mind. When I first told my mom, it was awful; we started fighting and arguing a lot; she told me that I couldn't just throw a year and a half of my life away, but I couldn't grasp the idea of having to spend five more years in Pharmacy. On the other hand, the one thing that helped me the most was that my father was totally with me; if he wasn't on my side throughout the whole dilemma, I wouldn't have been able to transfer to Business. Anyways throughout the process, I've always felt that I won't shift majors for the sake of my mom, but at the end, I couldn't help it and I filled in the request form. Actually, she tried her best to stop the procedure, as she knew some people who worked in the university.Yet, I also tried my best till my request was approved. When my parents came with me to sign the papers, she was still trying to blow off the whole thing, for the millionth time or something; however, my father did sign off regardless. I can say that ever since I took this step, I became so happy with my life and I'm so happy with the things I'm learning because I love Marketing and everything in that lane. Also, I have more time to start focusing on a lot of things besides university. So, there's not a second that passed in which I felt that I regret taking this step, because honestly I don't and I don't think I ever will."

Mohamed Koushi (From Engineering to Mass Communication)

"At first, my father started hinting out how he wants me to enter Engineering without directly saying it, and so I did. Besides Engineering, I used to play football for nearly all my life, but after getting injured in both of my legs, I quit. Hence, I started focusing on another thing that I love and that is photography; I entered a student club at university and I was back in the field of photography. In my first year, it was the first time I ever fail a subject and in my second year, I failed three subjects and I was put on probation for the following semester. However, in my second year, I started getting more known and exposed in the field, and I was also a media head at a club in university. By my second year in Engineering, I've nearly entered all the student clubs there, and I was also working and started making a good fair amount of money. By then, the idea of transferring began to pop into my mind and I didn’t exactly know how to speak that out to my parents; but when I did, my mom told me to continue in the major, because logically speaking, two years have already passed. However, at some point, I decided within myself that I really wanted to quit Engineering. During the summer -after my second year- I took two courses; one from Engineering major and another from Mass-com and then I filled in a transfer request without exactly telling my parents. After I did and I was actually accepted, I told them. My mom wasn't against the idea as she knew how much I loved it and she completely supported me, but my father was utterly surprised. I finished my first semester in Mass-communication with a GPA of 3.4 and with grades that I've never seen before in Engineering; my life completely changed after I transferred and I wholeheartedly loved everything I was doing. I don't care about the two years or the fact that my friends are graduating next year and that I still have three more years. All I care about is doing what makes me happy; doing the things I love and the things I'm passionate about. People who used to discourage me at the beginning are now the ones who encourage me the most; after seeing that I'm way much better in Mass-com than I've ever been in Engineering. Basically, people will always talk in the beginning and discourage you without even knowing the goals you have in mind; that's inevitable. But it's always down to your courage and determination that will make you face all of that and actually follow what you want and love."

Iman Mahmoud (From Medicine to Alsun)

"First of all, I wasn't raised in Egypt and I attended school abroad, therefore when people here talked about how doctors can literally put so much pressure on a specific student or mess with their grades, I didn't believe it, until I entered Medicine. I started acknowledging how education in Egypt goes and I was so frustrated with what I'm dealing with and the mere pressure I was under. At the end of my second year, the pressure was literally too much in a way I couldn't handle. My parents were the ones who actually wanted me to change majors and they were really supportive about it as they knew that medicine won't get any easier. My friends, also, were supportive of the decision as they knew that I couldn't handle the pressure of Medicine or the doctors. And so, I switched to Alsun, Spanish Department. See, I didn't even tell people that I was enrolled in Medicine before because some of them had already given me the are-you-crazy look, believing that Engineering and Medicine were their ultimate goals one day as they wanted to please their parents and change the way society looks at them."

Mohamed Khaled (From Engineering to Business)

"When I finished Thanaweya Amma with 97%, I entered Engineering; I wasn't that happy at all during Freshman Year, but I gave it a chance a little bit more. After having to choose Civil Department in my second year in college, I began to realize that I don't want it and something inside me knew that this is not the career that I want to pursue after I graduate. At that point, I had already experienced to work in Management and I knew how much I love it. I came to realize that I was willing to give it my all in Management and Business in general, unlike Engineering. Hence, I decided to transfer. When I spoke it out to my father, he was frustrated and he couldn't accept the whole issue; he thought that I'm ruining my whole future and that I'm wasting all the hard-work I've done in Thanaweya Amma. After a while, I was depressed, I gained weight, I couldn't go out; as a result of studying something that I don't like and something I'm not passionate about. At that point, my father started to realize how unhappy I am and that Engineering is becoming a burden on my health and my social life; as a result, he supported the idea and I started explaining how I'm really passionate about business. And that's it, I shifted my major to Business Administration. Afterwards, when I entered Business, I started getting good grades and doing all the things I couldn’t do when I was in Engineering because I was really satisfied and happy with what I'm studying. When my parents started seeing all that prominent change, the fact that I'm always searching for different internships and full-time jobs besides my studies, they began to feel that they took the right decision."

That's it. Those were some examples of people who decided not to follow the herd and follow their passion instead. They fought for what they want and refused to wake up every day doing something that they hate just for the sake of a “Koleyet qemma” degree; and that right here, is success at its best. People oblige us to choose the majors that will bring us good money. Little do they know, if we follow our passion, we will eventually succeed and stand out,even it wasn't a “Koleyet Qemma”.

Paulo Coelho once said, "If your heart truly desires something, the whole universe conspires to help you achieve this thing." So, find your passion and chase it. You can be passionate about science, medicine, electronics, arts, business or anything in the world. All you have to do is chase it and break free of the box that society has put us in.

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