Rants of an Undergraduate

Straying away from our usual posts, which often lack personal touch, this is (frankly) going to be reeling under a pile of personal dissatisfaction.

While sitting in yet another seminar, in an attempt to bag whatever little I could to beautify that one page document, which will eventually end up being the parameter for rejection, the realization seeped in. Where was I going? Who do I want to become? Why would anyone give me 5 minutes of their time?

As I gear up for placement season, I come to fully understand what one means by the phrase, “The truth is ugly”. Companies today want vibrant, youthful, unique, multi-faceted individuals. They are looking for those who give unique answers to those same old questions; one who provides a perspective that stands out like a sore thumb. Moreover, these companies are willing to pay a handsome sum to those willing candidates. The sad part however, is that in describing these so called “desirable” qualities, I implicitly eliminated three-fourths of the undergraduates in India today. Its not entirely their fault though. Our course structures and evaluation system has left us red eyed, skimming through those volumes of literature at 12 am, only to half-heartedly scatter our learnings of the previous night. We seem to have our noses up books (pardon me here, I meant university prescribed textbooks) learning things we will never use our entire lives. And all for what? We have become accustomed to dormancy, a fallacy of not one’s social construct, but of society. What is even more pathetic is that a major proportion of us simply are too lazy to act, knowing full well of our shortcomings (me included). While in conversation with a professor of mine, he mentioned how undergraduate students from abroad harbor qualities of men and women, while Indian students lack maturity. They may be 18, but are far from being adults. This also stems from the fact that dependence ratios (pardon my deviation from the accurate economic meaning) in India are grossly high. Indian parents, in comparison to their western counterparts, are not willing to let go even when their child is 25. Side note: This is not a critique of the the whole though.

Our universities have some exceptionally multi-talented individuals, however, “some” should not be enough. Societal expectations confine us to our textbooks. Photography, dance, music and culinary arts (to name a few) are not even recognized as viable career options. This hinders holistic growth and creates one-dimensional individuals with whom dinners may become infinitely boring and cumbersome. Drawing from personal experiences, students from even the most accomplished colleges in the country prefer to simply write a “test”, instead of diving into projections and presentations, simply because:

  1. We can score better on tests as all we have to do is recreate the text in our books, results come quicker
  2. Working on a project takes too much time and energy and one is tested not only on the content but the approach, clarity, speaking skills, creativity and body language- something we try to avoid at all costs.
  3. The core principle governing our learning and expansion of knowledge is “marks”, those numbers that tell a person more about you, than anything else.

This road on which most of us tread, where education is merely a means to an end is one of the reasons for our inadequacy (especially, in comparison to our foreign counter parts). We have become so immune our and the education system’s shortcomings, that now nothing seems out of place.

“Our class is full of “just there’s” – a phrase a classmate of mine often uses, highlights, sadly though justly, how most of us are simply an offspring of mediocrity.

 

 

 

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