Life seems to be pretty planned out, especially if you’re a member of the young South Asian community.
Education is emphasized at a very young age and school is made the number one priority. To this, you add some extracurricular activities, like dance or tennis in which your parents enroll you. Of course, your parents have the best of intentions and want you to be prepared for your future. This usually also results in an after-school program like Kumon. Eventually, your parents want you to go to college, tuck some AP classes under your belt and let those extra-curricular activities take a backseat.
After high school there is college. Typically, no other options are on the table. If young adults in the South Asian community choose to forgo a four-year education it’s not only looked down upon, but it’s also a conversation that doesn’t take place. If one form of higher education is rejected, you will be strongly encouraged to undertake another form of it. And, don’t get us wrong, education is a necessary and wonderful thing. But, to what degree? (And yes, that pun is indeed intended.)
While this is all a generalization, many of us can relate to this, or we have seen it happen so often that it has become the norm. But lately, there are more young people who are breaking these hitherto barriers and having that difficult talk with their families. Whether it’s about dropping out of college or pursuing an unconventional career, young South Asian adults are making their own decisions instead of following the “cookie-cutter” path laid down before them.
And, there are many different reasons for this, including rebellion, or the search for one’s passion. But, even though we are seeing it more and more, it is still discouraged because it’s deeply inculcated within us: we must be practical and strive for stability.
On the latest episode of Chai Tea Party, we talk “College Dropouts.” Like many other 18-year-olds, we immediately enrolled in a proper four-year university. After years of trying to make it work and attempting to find careers in schools we felt lost, and finally decided to call it quits. Although many different factors played into the reason for our decision to leave, it is still one of the best things we have done for ourselves.
We were both unaware that we had taken this similar leap until we met for the first time after several years to talk about working on some sort of collaborative project together. This ultimately resulted in the duo whose work you are now reading: “Chai Tea Party.” And, while we were spilling these truths, we realized how we had finally become comfortable accepting the fact that we done this “shameful,” “horrendous,” and “unspeakable” thing.
Turns out the path to success isn’t as narrow as the minds of our community.
Shama & Tiffany
Visit the Chai Tea Party website ChaiTeaPartyShow.com. To email them [email protected] or connect with them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat @ChaiTeaParty. Listen to the podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud.