How do I decide my next educational step?
Some of the most recurring questions in my mind whenever I think about my graduation come May is – what do I do next? Should I continue studying? Can I stop studying?
Not once could I come up with a definitive answer to myself and say: “Yeap, it’s Uni (University) for sure. Nothing else.” I wish I could, but I would always face that cyclical dilemma about ‘what really matters’ echoing in my mind.
Why is it so difficult for a tertiary student to make that decision on what our next educational step should be? Then I realized I was not 12 anymore; Neither was I 16. I have long past the stage where my different levels of study could only go one-way – from primary to secondary, and from secondary to tertiary. I was grown-up. And fortunately, or unfortunately, at my ripe young age of 19, as I would like to still think of myself as a mere newborn nestling in the blithe nature of adolescence, I could not.
I am on my way, and so close to becoming a full-fledged adult, and this is reality. Of course I have had this idea in my head before, in fact I would not deny, it has been a grating indication of my necessary independence.
I was not ready to make my own smart or accurate decisions. Especially with regards to education, how could I make the right choice? So I really stopped to think and asked myself: what can I do now to help me advance in my life?
I’m a third-year student in poly, and I have recently completed my internship program at Harper’s BAZAAR magazine, Singapore. My penchant for fashion journalism has been with me since the day I saw that pair of simple black, cropped cigarette pants with the leather-trimmed waistband when I was 16. I went on and on about how I loved the texture, the silhouette and the details on the pants to my sister and it was like I hit an epiphany, though my sister probably thought I was a rambling irritant speaking in gibberish. I loved discussing ideas about fashion; it was my passion.
From then on, when I entered poly, and was told about the compulsory internship program every third-year student had to undergo, I was set on interning at a fashion magazine, and I am glad I have achieved that first goal.
Passion is what got me that far and is sometimes the only thing that will get you anywhere. Contrary to many traditional beliefs, following your passion is not the most ideal road to take to achieve success, it is sometimes even looked upon as foolish. Taking a degree and graduating from a university however, was the right way to progress as it “builds a strong foundation for your career, and can get you a good starting salary,” as my mother would always say.
Yes, no one can escape from money and its devious clutches, and unfortunately, we cannot deny that it is an essential in our lives in order to provide us with sustainability. However, I never believed that money could only come from getting a job with your degree. In fact, I never trusted the idea of being able to get a good-paying job only with a degree to back you up. I was a firm-believer, and still am now of going for what you know you love to do, even if it means you have to work your way up.
It is not to say that I do not agree attending university would serve as a favourable advantage to many employers out there, but there are other employers who do not see it that way too. One of my supervisors at BAZAAR told me that he never hired any of his staff based on what degree they had, he only looked for their experience. So, what kind of job do you want to take?
There are many questions to ask yourself before you decide to take the next step. I have and if I would study, I would make sure I picked a degree that would extend my knowledge on what I was passionate about learning. And if I do not study, I am ever willing to work my way up.
Unfortunately, nobody stays young forever, and making those wearying decisions are inescapable. Your age may force you to take that next step to progress in life, but having a passion will make it one step easier for you to excel in it. So ask yourself: What is your passion?