Progressing by degrees
Tsering Dolker Gurung
After a month, I will formally complete my undergraduate. Four years seem to have gone by in a breeze. Endless assignments, pulling all-nighters right before deadline, and photocopying notes just when the exams approach are some of the things that I will remember of my years at college.
As the time to leave college is nearing, more and more questions are rising in my mind. Have I really accomplished in learning all that was prescribed by the course? Am I ready to go out into the “real world” and put my knowledge to test? Was my bachelor’s degree worth spending four years on? I don’t have answers to these questions yet, and I don’t know when I will find them. Nevertheless, in the eyes of the world, I will be a graduate, a degree holder.
We live in a strange society, one where a person’s knowledge is judged by how many degrees he or she holds and respect is given accordingly. No wonder there is an added pressure to enroll in a university course as soon as high school is over. Most of us are still teenagers when we complete high school with no proper know-how of what we want in life. All we know is our parents expect us to enter a university, earn a bachelor’s degree, then when that is complete, go abroad to get a Master’s degree and then a PhD. This is the prescribed path. Stacking up degrees has become a blindly followed trend. We are in such a rush to complete everything that there is no time to think and see what it is that we really want to do in life.
I am not here to criticise the education system, neither the students who are enrolled in different courses at universities. Heck! I am one of them. The reason why people want to get degrees is what bothers me. Earning degrees has become more to do with gaining social prestige than a quest for knowledge. To see students who really want to excel in the subject has become a rare sight. Nobody is to blame. Our decisions are handed to us by our parents and largely by society. Studying can be fun if you enjoy it. But with the way everybody seems to be in a rat race to get as many degrees as possible, I doubt if they enjoy the process.
My parents want me to enroll for a Master’s programme as soon as I graduate. I am still uncertain as to what I want to study. This time I don’t want to give in. I will study a course that will make me excited when I go to class, a course that I really enjoy. This way, when the day comes for my Master’s graduation, I won’t be having the doubts that I am having now. For what good is a degree if you have learnt nothing?
source:Gurung,Tsering Dolker(2011),"Progressing by degrees", The Kathmandu Post,6 July 2011
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