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My story: How changing disciplines, moving away from literature opens new doors

Studying literature opened up horizons to imagine and innovate on a plethora of subjects, be it social, cultural or political.

Written by Vatsima Tripathi | New Delhi |
April 6, 2017 2:05:51 pm
literature, BA english, BA english careers, english literature, education, academic courses, arts careers, arts career after 12th, policy and governance, political science education, career options after BA, careers after ba english hons, education news, indian express news,  It is immensely satisfying to be able to link the domains of academics and not look at them in isolation.

I did my bachelors in English Literature and later went on to pursue my Masters in Public Policy and Governance. Often, the journey has been looked upon with raised eyebrows as it is unlikely for graduates from my stream to pursue this course. However, it is immensely satisfying to be able to link the domains of academics and not look at them in isolation.

For me, studying literature opened up horizons to imagine and innovate on a plethora of subjects, be it social, cultural or political. This foundation has offered me an insight into the kaleidoscope of lives — flowing in the gushing river waters, standing determined on the mountain caps, restless in the anxiety of the ruffling leaves. It was about the building perceptions of human relations as they look behind the closed doors, the barbed wires and the grief stricken shores. Literature was therefore a dive into perfections and imperfections of human beings and the circumstances they proliferate within.

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Public Policy, on the other hand hand, brings forth the real world cases. Analogically, this step into policy and governance stood as a firm backbone in identifying and analysing two or more discrete lives and the interaction between them. In English Literature, I learnt how to analyse the intricacies of colonisation and other issues and look for ways to reduce such gaps if not completely eliminate them.

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While I was super excited to get enrolled in the masters programme in Public Policy and Governance that offers hard core data analysis, initially, I felt a little lost when writing five page answers reduced to mere single line commands. Also, understanding probability distribution sampling methods straight from placing metaphors of the cotton wisps for clear clouds in the sky emerged as a big turn over.

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However, I managed to balance between hardcore empirical evidence based courses because of prevalence of analytical and descriptive courses with anthropological and socio legal political approach. The programme evaluation and policy implementation are some courses that help me use my undergraduate education as literary tools to apply myself to the full potential.

And the interestingly literary theories I had a chance to look into during my Bachelors degree, run across most of the policy and governance courses and makes understanding deeper. It was the teachers’ feedbacks on each of the courses that proved to be constructive in the sense that they sharply point the loop holes in the argument and pushed me towards taking a distinct stance. I stayed firm on the same with justifications and substantial real world examples.

It is only the realm of social sciences that helped me learn to explore ideas and theories beyond the obsessive bracketing of disciplines and treating them as air tight containers. I gather while traversing this journey was diversity of knowledge in different spheres serves with a more nuanced understanding of concepts. After all, all those who wander are not lost!

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Vatsima Tripathi is a student at Azim Premji University, Bangalore

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