Sunday, August 22, 2010

Higher Studies

If there is one thing that I perhaps repent in life, it is that I did not do my higher studies. I graduated with bachelors and then, I thought, I was done with all the education that I ever wanted. But when my peers, my cousins, my colleagues and my juniors went in for higher studies, it touched a nerve. Perhaps I should have done my Masters too.

Its not that its too late. Its just that I end up weighing too many pros and cons and find that I can manage just as well without any further studies. Of course, another major dilemma is that I have no clue on what I need to do Masters on, even if I wanted too! I don’t want to do Masters on what I am working because I know what its like in this industry now. I feel like doing something different, like being a doctor or something, but then life is too short to be a professional in two totally different occupations. Talk about confused mind!

Its not that I abhor studying; its always fun to learn new things. When I learnt the Katapayadi Sankhya, I was fascinated. But when learning has to be metamorphosed into a permanent storage location within the memory, that’s when it gets me. Why memorise when we have Google now! I feel its too much time and effort to get Masters, starting from the entrance exam (be it GMAT or GRE or CAT) itself. Not to mention money, too.

When it comes to money, education suddenly becomes more of an investment option. The higher you pay to get into a famous institution, the higher the returns because of the campus recruitment. But I have heard of various stories that I have become skeptical. Not all get into high profile jobs. Not all want high profile jobs. Some end up being entrepreneurs. Some end up being philanthropists. Some end up thinking: was this all worth it.

I used to think a while ago that just Bachelors is not good because half the time you do not end up working on what you had actually studied. That’s because I saw many who had done their Masters truly worked on what they had studied in their Masters. But then I came across all this IITians and IIMs and PhDs and found that, it’s the same case everywhere. People who did their PhDs in Electrical Engineering are in the Board of Directors for a software company which has got nothing to do with electricity! People who studied in IIMs are in a dotcom business which has got nothing to do with management!

So, how come a guy, who is strong in Electrical Engineering, get into a totally new domain and excel in it? When I pondered more over this, I realized that the Masters and PhDs are perhaps not just to excel in one particular field and to end up in one particular profession. It is perhaps to open up the mind to encompass the numerous things that Man can actually do and enjoy and excel. It is like the gateway to be an all-rounder.

Or is it? I know this maternal grandfather on my wife’s side who has worked in industries ranging from Chemical to Construction, from Mechanical to Railways, so on and so forth without so much having as a formal education in any one field. So, formal education is then just a tag. It’s the adaptability of the human mind to apply to a situation, coupled of course with a bit of luck, to excel and be confident in any given working environment.

And then I have known people who have done Masters only to end up working exactly the way Bachelors do, perhaps with a bit more dough. That’s really sad. That really is demotivating for higher studies. So, in this case, higher studies is not even an investment option.

Be that as it may, it is very important for highly capable students to get into higher studies which can be used as a spring board to invent new things like, for e.g., this laptop on which I am writing, the wordpad which automatically corrects my grammatical mistakes and this blogger where I can share my thoughts. Invention, white papers, patents and what not. Its all awe-inspiring. One needs people like Randy Pausch to be around you to encourage the thinking mind to wander and conquer without thoughts of education loans and family and future.

I somehow feel I might like to be amidst highly intellectual people talking about heavy-duty stuff such as the applicability of Laplace Transformation to daily life or Chaos Theory although I myself might not be able to make any contribution to such interesting and mind-numbing discussions. I get attracted mentally to people who talk in such a way that it just doesn’t make any sense, and yet, there is deep sense in what they are actually talking. They will be talking in such a way because, for them, it is difficult to come down to the plane where normal human beings converse. This, again, might be because of their exposure to higher studies where, no doubt, they have to work hard on assignments and projects and what-not.

Then again, it might not be. It might just be because of what they are. Its all very confusing. At the end of the day, I am what I am.

1 comment:

Srikk said...

Good one Harsha...to some extent you spoke my mind out. Its just that we (including myself) always find more reasons to not do something than actually doing it. The tendency that comes with so called age and experience :)