The degree dilemma

Published February 6, 2012

Two year ago when I was graduating from an engineering university, I had the strong urge to disassociate myself with my current degree’s profession. The reason? Very simple: I hate numbers. Although I must admit that to some extent this four years degree program had neutralised my fears, but still pursuing it as a career was something I was clearly unsure about.

Keeping in mind that curiosity may have unwittingly killed a cat or two, I felt myself being pulled towards the journalism industry instead.

I kicked off the process of job hunting and was often called for interviews but would end up not being short-listed due to my non-journalist background. However, persistence pays off and eventually I found myself behind a desk surrounded by news copy.

To me, this job was just what I wanted – to others, it was a matter of sheer confusion.

Whenever I would break the news of my new job, the reaction would be an assimilation of shock and confusion followed by countless questions, such as:

Oh my God! Your hard work has been wasted.

How do you understand the new job specifications?

You have wasted the seat!

Normally I would much rather snap at such questions, instead keeping my cool I would launch off justifying and explaining that I have committed no sin.

A few days ago the question of “wasting the seat” was being debated at my work place and that was perhaps the last straw before which I decided to confront this issue publically.

Let’s make one thing clear: education can never go to waste. In one way or another, every individual is implementing skills and experiences learned in educational institutions – some more than others.

To me, an education perhaps might be considered wasted when you have earned a degree and opted instead to stay home and do nothing about it. But even then, I would argue, acquiring education is an asset – something which can never expire with time.

Although accused of “wasting the university seat”, I feel lucky that the industry I am in, allows me to utilise my knowledge here in the form of highlighting national and international science and research.

The “seat wasting” mindset can be argued both ways, but no denying it prevails in our society. People switch career paths all the time for various reasons – whether it is due to ambition, finance or other circumstances, I hardly feel it is a reason to feel ashamed or as if you have somehow done injustice to your university education.

In fact, a considerable number of Pakistani individuals are working rather successfully after switching fields, which only further emphasises the fact that ‘losing a seat’ is practically invalid, as long as one is positively contributing to society.

Imran Khan is essentially a Bachelors in Economics and Politics, however his passion for cricket took over and needless to say, resulted in a glorious career in the sport.

Similarly, supermodel Nadia Hussain is actually a dentist. And Abrar ulHaq, a lawyer by profession, pursued his career as a singer and later as a philanthropist.

Artist Gulgee is a qualified engineer. However, his love for painting and calligraphy has rightfully earned him huge accolades across the globe.

Thus, I’m a strong believer that a degree does not ensure success, rather interest that allows an individual to excel.

If practically argued also, employment is a means to an end. Why not earn a living doing something that makes you happy? After all, how many people actually have jobs that make them jump out of bed every morning?

Einstein aptly said: ‘Interest is the best teacher’. It is not until one is interested that his/her creativity surfaces; that drive to move forward, to take chances.

We are all striving for some sense contentment in life. And what better way to spend your life optimising your talent, and doing what you can do well, instead of trying to do something that you never really wanted to do.

 

 

The writer is an Assistant Multimedia Producer at Dawn.com

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