Guest post written by Fariha Rashid
The Bengali culture, my culture, is notoriously known for being creative while ironically frowning down upon anyone that decides to pursue art in any form as a career. While this is a vast overgeneralization- it is what I grew up knowing. That being said, from childhood I had exposure to writing and reciting poetry, singing, drawing, painting, cooking, playing instruments and decorating. If there was an opportunity to showcase my creative skills, I was always present. I was also one of those kids in high school who thought they were too smart to study and focus. Music had always seemed like the right hobby for me to persevere at. I was nothing close to the best in my peer group but playing the violin was the one thing in my life that was challenging enough for me to want to conquer it. So naturally I thought I was making the right decision enrolling as a music major in college.
While this was fun at first with so much to learn and so many talented people around me, I quickly became disenchanted with the whole idea. Making your passion your major was not what I had expected. Before following the structured and grueling regimen that is a music degree, I had the freedom to learn and express how I saw fit. It felt like I had the creativity stripped from the creative. Many arguments where I had defended my future plans of being a musician to my parents slowly fell apart and I had a strange moment where just maybe my parents were right. This isn’t to say that a college degree in the arts is not the right choice for everyone, but for me it had taken away the things I loved about art.
This left me incredibly lost and frustrated. Let me remind you that I had spent high school thinking I was too smart to waste time doing homework or paying attention which left me lacking the study skillset my classmates had acquired while I wasted my time fraternizing with my ego. This is where my classical violin training actually came in handy and was easily transferred to my academic studies. Learning the violin takes a lot of grit, patience and learning to really get comfortable with failing often. This dogma softened the blows I felt from the first few bad grades in my core classes. This same skill set also reflected the qualities needed for business which redirected my attention towards the Economics degree I am currently pursuing and falling in love with- hard.
Fast forward a few years and my GPA is finally starting to look more like the temperature I preheat my oven to for wings and not so much like the tempo I set on my metronome for prestissimo. I’m looking to go into wealth management now which is hard for someone my age (who wants to let a 23-year-old handle their money) and takes a long time to build trust. Although, the best part of my new path is that I get to help people personalize their financial plan of action which surprisingly utilizes a lot of creative thinking to be successful. hat becomes my value-add to this business and ultimately what separates me from the cookie cutter advisor. I also still do play violin. I volunteer with The Atlanta Music Project and play in weddings or teach private lessons from time to time. I’ve also branched out and pursued new creative hobbies like writing blog posts, typography, gardening and podcasting (my new favorite).
Being a financial advisor takes a lot of grit, patience and learning to get really comfortable with failing often. My interviewers often try to gauge these skills by asking me if I’ve played any sports in the past. To which I always respond, “Do you have any idea how hard it is to play violin?”