We firmly believe that there is absolutely no shame attached to any field of education. It is only due to misconception and false pride that some fields of study have been overly glorified and some others are looked down upon. In our series of interviews with professionals who share their career story, we have Roseline Toppo, a UI/UX Designer, who was discouraged from taking up a career in design. Though she was forced to take up engineering, Roseline managed to come back to where her interests lay, but still regrets the lost time. In her interview with us in Bangalore, Roseline vividly brought out the fact that in the minds of most people, anything other than Engineering and Medicine is considered a waste of time.
Q: Tell us about yourself?
A: My name is Roseline. I have a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Product Design. Right now, I am a UI/UX Designer.
Q: How did you end up choosing your subjects after high school, and why did you choose those subjects?
A: After 12th, I got into medical. But I was not interested, so I disappointed my parents; told them I am not going to study medicine. I can’t put in effort for 5 years on something I didn’t like. That is why I chose Engineering. But then, that was the only reason why I chose Engineering. I had told my parents that I was interested in animation and design, but we didn’t know of any university that had a degree program in animation. I was told, “If you do that, you’ll never earn money. To be independent, you need to study Engineering” and the likes.
I was told, “If you do that (Design & Animation),
you’ll never earn money. To be independent,
you need to study Engineering.”
– Roseline, UI/UX Designer
Q: Did you go for any counselling or take advice from anyone? What kind of advice do you think would have helped you at that time?
A: There were no counselling sessions. All I could do was to Google a few topics. But that was not convincing to my parents. They questioned the authenticity of the information on the internet as they were not aware of the internet’s capabilities. So they won, and I had to become an engineer.
Q: Ultimately, what you chose as part of your academic degree; you had some expectations. When you moved into the field of work, did you find the same level of expectations met or were they very different from what you expected?
A: I had just completed my engineering when I heard of this design school, and I just jumped. Even though I got placed after engineering, I knew I was not going to do that job. I told my dad, 4 years I studied engineering because you asked me to, and I am an engineer now. Now I want to do what I want to do. As soon as I got into National Institute of Design, I didn’t want to work in the engineering field anymore.
Yes, there was a disconnect between what we studied and what we work on. As a student, you have a bright picture of what is going to happen in the industry and think you will have leverage or freedom to do whatever you want to do. But in reality, there are a lot of constraints. Though you are taught by professionals, nobody explains what really happens in the industry.
Q: You started as an engineer and later on switched to a completely different field. Do you think, if you were guided properly at that time, all that time wasted could have been utilized in a much better way, either work or train academically or professionally in a field you ultimately wanted to get into?
A: Yes, obviously. Instead of investing so much time and money studying engineering, I would have spent them on what I really wanted to do, and that would have made a lot of difference.
Q: If there was a system, a reliable source of information which would have identified your internal drive, what you were really suited for, what you’d have loved to work on and continuously grown, would you have used such a system?
A: If something can tell me or guide me towards areas of my interest, and give me options to choose from, then I would definitely have tried that. That would have been helpful.