Today’s generation is weighed down by the need to excel in every step of life, thanks to cut-throat competition. In a world that is progressing, the demand for a workforce with multiple skills is also increasing.

Initially a 12th or graduation degree was a necessity for landing a job. But now, companies — both public and private — demand Master’s degree with work experience, even for entry-level jobs. The society, it seems, has already charted a career path, leaving children with few alternatives on own life decisions.

All our lives, we tend to run after great jobs. Nobody seems to ask of your passions or things you love doing. The family I come from is not much different. We were taught that excelling in studies is very important for a person to be successful. And the higher the degree the more the chances of landing a good job. Get good grades in 10th as it is a very important exam. Then score well in 12th as it will decide which college you go to for an under-graduate degree. And then do well in your bachelors to secure a good post-graduate degree avenue, and so on.

I have always asked why everything must be so mechanical? Personally, I have never been one to follow the herd and just ‘fit in’. Having done my graduation in Sociology, I did not want to take up a masters in the same subject. I realised I needed to put in a lot of thought before going for such a deep course. I did not want to learn about the theories that I had already learnt in college with little relation with the real world. Unless there was practical exposure, I thought, it would not be right to pursue a master’s degree that everyone was after.

WHAT I CHOSE INSTEAD OF A MASTER’S DEGREE

The decision to work right after graduation was to assess where my expertise lay, so that I could contribute to the sector I chose and created a positive impact. That was not possible while pursuing graduation, given the heavy pressure of assignments and all other kinds of academic work. Voluntary work and joining societies helped me develop a vision. But that was not enough when compared with the benefits of a practical exposure that one gets when working. Also it is very important to have an insight of the current trend, basically what kind of jobs are the most sought, which courses are getting more attention both in terms of students seeking them at colleges and recruiters hiring from. Also, which companies are likely to hire people like you, etc. It actually gives you an edge if you are well-informed. That way, you prepare and groom yourself according to your interests.

CHALLENGES I FACED

Convincing my parents was the first challenge, since it is was an unconventional decision. And many might mention the difficulty of getting back to studies again after working. Well, it is tough, but not impossible if you are determined.

There are lots of options after 12th which are not regular degree courses but professional courses that nowadays students go for. The trend is slowly changing, with people shedding the mentality that a post-graduate degree is mandatory to land a good job. And even if one decides to pursue, it should be well thought through, so that at the end you don’t sit back and regret having wasted your time in that course.

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