Friday, January 23, 2004
To start things off in this blog, I am writing this one. Target of the article constitutes the students currently seeking the first step towards their career and future... most likely through JEE and other such entrance exams. People are requested to post their comments.
As I look back, I often wonder how our minds are conditioned to think in a particular direction. "Good students" taken Science- if you like Maths THE thing to do in life is to become an engineer and if you are interested in Biology THE thing is Medicine. If you are not a "good student" - you are "secondary citizens" in the world of career planning anyway. THE thing to do then is to get a job at the earliest. Now, if amongst the secondary citizens - you are little better you bag a government job or when you can not do even that, you go for private jobs or business!
Exact details of conditioning may vary slightly in individual cases, but what is indisputable is that the "right thing to do" and "the best things to do" has been fixed by some universal, all pervasive context. You do not decide, you only choose.
The first thing that intrigues me is the very concept of "good" and "right". Who is a good student? What is the measure? And who decides these measures? To put things in perspectives, let me ask you this. Have you not seen people showing extraordinary promise in junior classes and doing miserably in 10th board exams? Have there not been people who have done extremely well in 10th board only to realize that the very first exam of class 11th is well beyond their control? Have there not been people doing not-so-well in classes otherwise but excelling in competitive exams - to the surprise of their friends, teachers and parents? And if you ask those people who have been to one of the premiere institutes of career making (Read Engineering and Medical Colleges) or if you yourself have been there, you would know how miserably some of those people do there, who were top rankers in the entrance examination! I wonder if anyone can say he or she has not seen such inconsistencies in the performance of people around them.
Now what is all this? Luck - some would say. Well, being a believer of both God and Luck, I can not outrightly deny the luck factor, but do dare say it is not the big-B called "Luck" all the time. The patterns are so wide-spread and common that there has to be something comprehensible to human minds behind all this. I would put my understanding of the things here. The aim is to try to look at the stereotyping of "capable" and "incapable", "good" and "bad", "right" and "not-so-right" etc. objectively. It might help us in not losing the focus on our strengths and weaknesses and thereby letting us utilize our potential in the deserving direction of our careers.
All human beings have a skill-set: certain things they can do very well, certain things they can not do so well, certain things they can get done with, certain things they will do badly and certain things they can not do at all! The skill-set could have its origin in the biological or sociological conditioning, but the idea is that at certain stage in life, we can roughly see that there are certain things we can or like doing while others not. Now, the education system that has been created around us is supposed to help us develop the skill-set and because of historical and practical reasons it is highly centered around evaluations - largely in the form of exams. System is what it is - It has kept changing and evolving over time and in all probability will keep doing so. But there is something that is practically constrained. How many possible dimensions of skill-set could an evaluation system judge at a time? Does not matter how many subjects and finer distinctions we introduce in the 10th board exams, simply because one has to decide on certain number of questions means that all the dimensions can not be tested - and even amongst the ones that are tested, justice can not be done to all.
Do we start seeing the reason of the inconsistency pointed out earlier? Each time we write an exam - does not matter how respected and acclaimed it is, it tests only a few possible dimensions of skill-set. And there is nothing wrong in it if your skill-set is not strong in those particular dimensions. The idea of choosing the "right" career thus takes a "U" turn from the traditional view. The "right" is not something already defined for you by God-Knows-Whom - It is something that has to be decided individually for you, based on the strength and weaknesses of your skill-set. And more often than not, the decision maker has to be you yourself. Having conceptualised the "performance" in terms of skill-set, the most important point to be made is that there is no better "skill-set". Just because something is the "rush" of the day does not mean that if you are doing that you are the best, else you are a useless burden on the earth... No, by no means can it be so! Trends keep changing and so do these "hot" things - these do not determine the "right" or "not-so-right" things to do. After all, any of these hot things can not survive in isolation. If IT is the rush of the day and every one decides to become a Software Engineer and nothing else, God would not be able to save earth. More of these "hot" things I will write later.
Before I end, I must mention an important point. Every time an idea, an explanation of things around us is generated, it gets generated with some assumptions and in certain context. If these ideas are fitted when these assumptions and the context are not valid- results could be disastrous. So, the discussion above on skill-sets and each exam testing a particular skill-set should not be used as an excuse for laziness. Does not matter what your skill-sets are - there is no substitute to hard work. The idea is that we should put the hard work where it would pay off the most, instead of getting carried away by illogical notions of "best career". It is a slight modification to the age-old wisdom that "you can get anything, if you work hard" - I will say "you can get what is in you, if you work hard". I could crack JEE, though I could not have been a doctor no matter how much I tried! At the same time, it does not mean I could have cracked JEE without studying. Whatever are the strengths of your skill set - the population of the world and out country is very high, so you can be sure that others also have similar skill set and hence competition is there to stay. Work hard!
Another question could arise how do you identify your skill-set without trying. That is tricky question and would demand another article. Meanwhile views are invited from others on this one.
I am joining
I am not aware of how it works and not in a position to comment, but the best part is that we are progressing day by day in all respect.
Keep it up
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Thanks for the effort that you have put in for the website. I hope soon all of us from our group would join this blog.
Hey guys gear up.
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Name: Jaya Jha
This is the section where alumni will share their experiences with each other and with the students of the organization. Please send me a mail if you are an alumnus and want to join this blog.