Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Is A Degree Really Necessary?


As 2013 is coming to an end soon, it also means that I am going to ORD in around 2 months time!
Time really do pass very fast come to think about it, it feels as though I just enlisted not long ago.
And now? I am going to ORD already. When that time comes, I will be into another phase of my life.

That is what I want to blog about today.
A lot people has been asking me "Ben! What are you going to do after you ORD?"
Or to be more specific, "Which University are you going to study in?"

My answer is real simple and it leaves everyone in shock. Here is how our conversation will be like:

Me: Nah, I am not going to study in University.

Them: WHY?!

Me: Because I really don't feel like studying anymore and to me, 
I find that I am studying for the sake of doing so. 

Them: Aiyo, Cannot like that! Must go study!! 


I am very used to these kind of replies, but what really left me thinking is,
Is it really a must for us to study in University? Or is it because it is a norm nowadays?

I do understand the fact that our parents has always install the thought that we must get to University when we grow older etc. I am not saying that going to the University is not good or useless, but what I am asking here is, is it really NECESSARY?

I guess there will hardly be any clear answer to this question. 
It really depends on each individuals. So, I do realise that there are many arguments to it and I shall dissect them here in this post on the different thoughts of others with regards to this topic. I shall try to keep as neutral as I can haha.

PARENTS' POINT OF VIEW


Parents do nag at us all the time, and our studies is definitely one of the top in list. 

Since young, our parents (at least in Asian's context) will always tell us "You must study hard and go to University in future, if not you will have to collect rubbish like those Bangalas (Indian foreign workers)" And because of this, most of us actually do strive hard and keep telling ourselves that we MUST get to University because that's what our parents tell us, and that must be true. 

From the parents' point of view, going to the University is an essential for their children, and that is especially so in a country like Singapore. Every year, more and more foreign workers are coming to our little red dot to work. Not forgetting the foreign talents that are dominating the offices and skyscrapers in the Central Business District area. 

This means that, we cannot say that parents' worries are unduly.
They do have their point when they want their children to make it big in life, and in order to do so in a competitive environment, academic achievement is indeed of top priority and essence to success. as such, to most parents, going to University is indeed necessary. 

For myself, I must be one of the lucky few to have understanding parents in which, they do not agree with the fact that going to University is redundant. Deep down in their heart, they so still want us to further our studies, especially one like me, with only A Levels certification, which practically can't bring me anywhere. However that being said, my parents are understanding enough and supportive of what I want and my goals. In short, they do not agree with my decision, but yet they show support in me upon knowing the direction I want in life. 

For that, I am very grateful of my parents and I am very sure that 
there are such other parents out there as well!  


EMPLOYERS' POINT OF VIEW


And so here comes the link, everything has a link in life *act one philosophical* 

Mentioned previously, the only reason why our parents keep nagging at us to study hard is because they want us to have good employment opportunities in future. Of course, with good qualifications, it does, to a certain extent, place us at an advantage when it comes to job interview. 

In Singapore, it is an undeniable fact that qualifications not only affect our employment opportunity, but also the difference in our pay. Take for example, I used to work in the audit firm that my aunt was working in. Her colleagues and her are all working the same job, however, as my aunt graduated from NUS with a Degree her pay is actually different, and according to her colleague, even the attitude and treatment received from the lady boss is different too. 

Guess what? She is only working in a small local auditing firm. 
What if we are talking about big corporate firms? Won't qualification matter even more?

Governmental jobs, especially so, will focus a lot on academic achievements. 
A fresh graduate will definitely have a higher chance of getting employed compared to a diploma holder, or just an A Level holder. 

*drum roll*
Is qualification* then, necessary in the eyes of the employers? 
*Do note that all qualification here refers to University Certs 

If you were to ask me, I think it really really does depend on the nature of the job. 
Why do I say so? Because some jobs, doesn't really require Uni Certificates, but more of job experience or specialisation in that targeted field. 


I can easily quote a few examples of such jobs:
Music Teacher 
Abacus Teacher
Dance Teacher

To put it shortly, basically jobs with relation to aesthetic. 

Just to put it across to you readers out there, the reason why I do not want to go to Uni is simply because since young,  I know that I want to be an Abacus teacher when I grow up. Being an Abacus teacher, doesn't really require one to be a Uni Grad. All you need is to have the relevant certificate in abacus to teach, somewhat like NIE Cert, but for Abacus that is. 

Also, dance teachers or music teachers, do not require you to hold any Uni Cert.
You can be a PSLE Holder, but if you hold a master degree of Diploma in Music/Dance, you can just go ahead and teach others in a learning centre. Does it actually make sense to you guys now why I don't really want to further my studies? 

My aunt (the one with NUS Degree) once said this:
Uni Cert is for those without talent. 

What she said actually made my mum realised that it's actually quite true. Why?
Just think about it, those who do not learn any extra skills like piano or whatsoever, they do have to rely on getting their hands on a degree so as to ensure that they even stand a chance in getting a job in future. However, for those (like me with Degree in Abacus) with skills in other areas, we are able to rely on that and earn an income. In a way or another, it is no longer deem as NECESSARY for us to go to Uni. 

HOWEVER, if you're talking about governmental job or managerial appointments in corporate firms, that will be a different case. Because qualification will then play a major part in deciding if you'll be hired. 

If my cousin (a Diploma holder) and I were to interview for the same post, my cousin will definitely get the job/stand a higher chance than me in getting it because I am just an A Level holder, kinda useless in Singapore because it is deemed as the ticket to Uni so if you don't get to Uni and get a degree, it is as good as useless. I won't stand much chance even when comparing to a Diploma holder, needless to say a Degree holder. 


SO…QUALIFICATION IS 
JUST LIKE A TALISMAN?


After all that, it seems to me and many that qualifications is just like a talisman. Or maybe a cushion for you to fall back on should you have a great fall (like Humpty Dumpty). The reasons are apparent.

In actual fact, it is something like what my mum will always tell me when we discuss about me not going to Uni. The conversation will go as such:

Mum: B, why don't go study? It's good.

Me: Mum, you should know la, it's pointless since I am going to teach abacus

Mum: But at least, if Abacus doesn't work out, you got Uni Cert to fall back on


This is the type of reason that my mum and a few of my relatives or friends of my parents', will give me whenever I say that it is pointless. In a way or another, they are actually conveying the message to me that, Uni Cert do act like a talisman which we can count on should anything go wrong with other interest of our life. But is that the whole point then of studying in University? 

I do realise one point too, does this actually mean that we are studying for the sake of doing so?
This is because there is something that still kept me wondering till today.

I will read newspapers every morning in camp since they are free anyway haha.
And if I am really really bored, I will actually browse through the CLASSIFIED section because sometimes you do get to see funny and hilarious advertisement there. 

What really kept me thinking was the fact that in most jobs that require a degree holder the requirement is actually stated as such: ANY degree will do


This means that you might actually be working in a job post, which has total ZERO relation to what you've learnt in University. This practically means that you're kind of studying for the sake of doing so because all that the society wants to see is just that freaking piece of paper -.-

Take one of my friend who just graduated from NUS. 
He took up some boring engineering (I am saying its boring because there is nothing more I hate that Engineering courses so that's my own opinion haha), and now he is working in an office in the HR Department… #OkCan. 

To be honest, other than those courses like Dentistry, Medicine or Law, most of the Uni Grads will end up working in a job appointment which has little or totally no relation to their education they received in University. Isn't this kind of hilarious? Doesn't this seems redundant?

 You're spending 3-4 years to get your hands on a Degree and all the society ask for is just ANY degree holder, and poof! you can get the job! The meaning of "necessary to get a degree" has thus been degraded to such standards? Now, is it REALLY necessary to get hold of a degree then?

If you were to ask me, I would say that we are all just studying for the sake of studying. 

A lot of things in life might seem to be futile. Because we are just humans who are going with the flow in life in order to survive. We study and study for at least a quarter of a century of our lives. For what purpose? To get a job in life, and work for the rest of our remaining days till we drop dead? Or is there any other true reason?

We work to survive, and to survive we study.
Life is more than just studying non-stop to get a degree. 

To me, I think that Degree is not necessary but this does not mean that I encourage people to not go to Uni. It is definitely good if you can get into College, don't waste the opportunity. But I do have my own stand on this :)

What do you guys think? Is a Degree really necessary?

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