Written by Kenny Sia
Wanted to write about this topic for a while, but then I got carried away with work.
Recently I had to interview a round of job applicants for some positions I was hiring.
I was looking for sales consultants and an administrative assistant to join my fitness centre. These are entry-level positions good for fresh graduates, and I was looking forward to resumes from - maybe - business or hospitality grads in my inbox.
Ultimately, I didn't end up hiring any of the fresh graduates, but that's another story altogether. *remind self to blog about the atrocity of fresh grads*
But what surprised me was that in amongst the 20 over resumes that I received, a few who applied were actually Bachelor degree holders.
Not only that, they were degree holders in... Engineering.
An engineering graduate applying to a become a sales consultant at a fitness centre. Are you kidding me?
Is he gonna make a robot greeting customers at the front desk?
It sounds almost as ridiculous as a blogger opening a fitness centre.
Not that I have anything against engineering degree holders. In fact, I am one of them. Lim peh right here holds a Bachelors Degree in Electronic & Communication Engineering, with Honours.
Which is really just a fancy way of saying "Hey look, I am holding a piece of paper that I spent 5 years in university working on, but acherly I donch really know what it was all about!" :D
I got a theory with regards to students, in particular MALAYSIAN students, who study engineering at universities.
Kenny Sia's Theorem On Malaysian Engineering Students: "99% of Malaysian students who do engineering at university do it because their friends/parents/government ask them to, not because they really want to."
I'm serious. If I could have a dollar every time I see an engineering graduate getting a job in something COMPLETELY unrelated to what he studies, I'd be so rich I could buy a fake $5-billion dollar boat made of gold and dinosaur bone.
I know it's true. I am one of them.
My parents spent hundreds and thousands of dollars sending me to an overseas university, and I end up writing a blog and running a gym.
What a waste of time. What a waste of money.
I'm surprised my parents hadn't disowned me after I wasted so much of their money on my university education.
It's quite sad to think that the best thing I did in uni was joining the university gym. If I only knew which career path I'd take, I would never have picked electronic engineering. I would do something more related to what I am doing right now - like a commerce or hospitality degree. Why the hell did I choose to study engineering in the first place?
I blame it all on society pressures.
What to do? I was fresh out of high school when I was forced to make a decision on what course to do at university.
I was 17. How the hell do I know what I want to do for the rest of my life? I never had the chance to see the world nor explore my interests. Yet at 17 I was put in front of a university brochure and forced to make a AUD$100,000 decision.
My parents being parents are more than happy to comply. In Malaysia, there's no such thing as a "gap year" like in Western countries, where kids after high school take a year off to do travel or volunteer work as a means to discover their interests, before continuing on their university education.
In Malaysia, kids must go STRAIGHT to college or university after they finish high school. Never mind the fact that most universities/colleges are privatised money-guzzling business entities now. In Malaysia, if kids don't go STRAIGHT to university, they must be delinquents and therefore failure in life.
So what do I do?
I chose the so-called "safest" career option - engineering.
Why? Because back in the 1990s, Mahathir encouraged everybody to study technology.
Why? Because we got MULTIMEDIA SUPER CORRIDOR. And CYBERJAYA. And MULTIMEDIA SUPER TUALAMPA. And apparently everyone who study engineering will make a lot of money.
Tell me which one of Malaysia's richest men have an electronic engineering degree?
When you think about it, it is so sad. University is so expensive, so important as a pathway in a person's career development. Yet so many of us rush into deciding on what course to pick when we really have no idea what we want to do straight after we finish high school.
In the end, all we're really doing is going to university for the sake of going to university.
By the time we find out how much we hate the course we're doing, it's too late.
Next time when I have kids, I'm gonna force them to take a gap year travelling or volunteering to find out where their true passion lies before they enrol into University. After all, if they are gonna be spending my money on their university education, they may as well do it right.
Don't want them to end up like me - studying so hard for a piece of paper that I never ended up using. Parents, please don't rush your kids to go university for the sake of going to university. If they decide wrong course at University, die lah.
Might as well go Uneverstudy.
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