Hello everyone, this is Naren. I completed my undergraduate this year in electronics and communication engineering and I am planning to apply to US for next fall.
When Raghu (HSB) posted on Facebook asking for volunteers to write for his blog, I found it an interesting opportunity to share my experiences with other people. So, here is my shot at writing, hope you guys find it interesting and useful!
“So, do I really need a ‘Higher’ education?’’
I was thinking about a good topic to write upon like “how to score big numbers in GRE and TOEFL” but when I thought about it these are all secondary questions, aren’t they? First we need to figure out more basic questions; “Do I really need a higher education?”
This is something I had asked myself many times throughout my undergrad and something every one of us would have asked themselves at one point in the undergraduate.
These are some of the points that I wrote down in my notebook that I thought were relevant to a majority of us, if not to everyone.
“With Undergrad we get a job, with higher education we get a career!”
Ok this is cheesy but let me explain myself, if you are hardworking (smart might not be essential) then you are bound to get a job with an undergraduate. Even though I was not a topper I got through 3 job placements, I am an average Joe if I can get a job anyone can.
Only problem I am not satisfied by anyone of them!
I find this more often then I wish to see, people even from elite colleges (like IITs) get placed into jobs they are not interested work for people they don’t like sell things they don’t care about. This was never my idea of a job, what I want is work for myself for pleasure of doing things, not for money.
How does it weave into higher education? It is tough to give a logical construct why higher education lets you work the way you want because, it doesn’t! But what it does is give you more opportunities, more maturity in though and process and more confidence if your chosen field is where you want to work.
At the end of the day it is on you to utilize the opportunities but with more maturity you will be ready to better utilize them.
“The opportunity to work with the best minds in the field”
This is a big draw for a lot of us. Wherever you do your Masters/PhD you are bound to work with the best minds in your field and this is an opportunity that motivates me to pursue higher education in the first place.
- I have nothing to comment about what you are going to learn in the subject. But, more than what they offer in terms of subject knowledge they are all well respected and incredibly smart individuals; when you work under them you end up learning their perspective, work ethic and skill. These are essential for success in any field you can learn all about your subject even from a library.
“I have not learned much in my undergrad”
No, this is not completely true. I did learn a lot of things but what I mean is a bit different. After graduation I have started working as a project assistant.
It is definitely very exciting to work in research but I quickly found out, Even though I understood the concepts there are so many things which need more understanding and background especially in mathematics.
Undergraduate is definitely a different experience especially in India, what we learn in college can be summarized as ‘Jugaad’ (loosely means quick fix).
This was our aim and we followed this rule in everything.
Assignment jugaad, project jugaad, notes jugaad were the keywords. From organizing college fest to even social service were jugaad for certificates. When I think about it this is something that is there in our Indian mindset from netas making popular, useless in long term promises to municipality filling pot holes on our roads with sand (yes it happened!).
My professors used to tell us openly to copy the assignments and when questioned? their reply was procedure. We are caught up somewhere in procedures and progress.
If we want to succeed on a bigger stage, we require innovation not jugaad. I am not here to blame our education system, I am here to understand the truth and become better.
I believe we can mend our ways with the right exposure, which I believe higher education can provide.
“To realize our dream”
“The worst thing that one can do is not to be aware of what one wants and not give in to it, to spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialized – and never knowing”
- David Viscott
These beautiful lines summarize what I want to say. Many of us dream about doing big things and to achieve them we need to take tough decisions.
Going for higher education is a big commitment in terms of money, time and effort but if you think this is what will help us realize our dreams, then just do it!
I would be very happy if you could leave a line on what you think. Thanks for reading. Cheers!