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Off the beaten track

College degrees are analogous to fashion trends. The ones that manage to attain critical mass sell like hot cakes, albiet periodically. The 80s were for med schools, the 90s saw students flock to engineering, the early 2000s started the fad of computer wizards, the last 4-5 years have generated an inordinate number of bankers, and the next few, I predict, will see the masses revert back to the doctors and engineers. In fact, fancy foreign banking experience, which once scored points for eligible bachelors (particularly Indian, since the arranged marriage concept is almost alien to other nationalities), has become quite the tabboo this season.

During my own time in college, I have seen many a talent wasted in the race for the most popular college degree. Off beat degrees, it seems, are still only for the daredevils, the rich & hence financially secure, and those who can’t make the academic cutoff of mainstream courses. Of course, there are those who discover only midway through college that they are not cut out for the rat race. However, in order to avoid cognitive dissonance after 4 years of (mindless) slogging, many continue to embark on the path that ignorance chose for them, getting sucked further into the conventional belief that off beat (non med, non engineering, non finance) talent is purely meant for hobbies.

It’s hard to foresee the future of a system that facilitates the decay of tremendous talent in the name of a ‘respectable’ profession. I earlier wrote a post contemplating if college education is overrated. Now, I think the mass-following of mainstream degrees is more to blame. Perhaps, post high-school, students need more time to discover real talent through exposure to off-beat fields. Perhaps, parents need to be more receptive and appreciative of their children’s abilities in alternate areas. Perhaps, we need to re-evaluate our system and re-examine whether it is the most efficient way of cultivating the generation of tomorrow. 

If you’re not sure about the kind of off-beat education I’ve been harping here about, this is a start.

“Of course there’s a lot of knowledge in universities: the freshmen bring a little in; the seniors don’t take much away, so knowledge sort of accumulates….” – Anonymous

10 Comments

  1. Pingback: Off the beaten track

  2. I agree with what you have posted……….We get so stuck following societal norms that we dare not deviated from what is so called the mainstream and apt education that certifies us to qualify for a job…….And in doing so we kill the other side, brighter and creative may crazy also….But its just one life that we live….Wish we cud have many lives to live to accomplish all our dreams!

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  3. College education is what you make of it. If you enroll in a course you have no interest in, then the hottest degree wont get you anywhere.

    I agree, kids should do what they like doing.

    Though in most cases, at that age they wouldn’t really know what they want to do, which causes complications 😉

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  4. Well, believe me, there are people who realize that they have chosen a wrong career when they start their job. Now there is no turning back for them and they end up sinking projects. There are loads of such people around.

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  5. very valid post shootingstar (?), esp liked you when you said “…talent is purely meant for hobbies”. Can’t agree more. Good read.

    vaibhav

    PS: lol on that anonymous quote in the end.. : )

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  6. very valid post shootingstar (?), esp liked you when you said “…getting sucked further into the conventional belief that off beat talent is purely meant for hobbies.” Can’t agree more. Good read.

    vaibhav

    PS: lol on that anonymous quote in the end.. : )

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  7. @ Valerine: We probably do have many lives, except that during each lifetime we dont realize that, and stamp over our dreams in every lifetime!

    @ Amreekandesi: Agreed, which is why I’m all for a gap year 😀

    @ Amit: Yeap, but then again, it’s never too late. It just takes one decision to turn it all around.

    @ Vaibhav: Thanks 🙂 the anonymous quote is true too!

    @ Vishesh: Yeap..

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  8. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often. Recently I found onecollege which is offers beyond-the- classroom experience to students in the rapidly-expanding industries of Health Care, Criminal Justice, Business, and Computers. Don’t miss out on great career opportunities.

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