The clamour of the exaggerated importance and effectiveness of a college degree has been getting louder. It could’ve just been social media, continuously highlighting every single complaint and opinion people have. But more and more CEOs (or so they said) have been complaining about the quality or shall I say, lack of quality of graduates nowadays. And for someone who have just graduated, I too, feel the pang of these statements.
So I decided to sit down and reflect. Reflect on why I got a degree and what have I gotten from this piece of paper that’s worth tens and thousands of Ringgit. Or in Bahiyah’s terms, what’s the ROI. Haha
We have been REPEATEDLY reminded by society, lectures (and an asshole-ish Master’s student of my lecturer) that what we learnt in university will not be useful in the “real world”. My question is, if it’s not useful, why bother teaching us these things? Why not teach us other things, that as you say it, are useful in the “real world”?
While course coordinators get their s**t together and try to come up with better courses to teach students, I shall list down the things that I think are worth it from this degree scroll of mine.
. 1. DISCIPLINE – After my four years of degree, I’ve come to realise that I actually have quite a strong sense of discipline compared to others. Under the constant pressure of meeting deadlines (and the fear of pissing off scary professors) I’ve managed to pull myself out of bed (and postpone fun activities) to study and finish my assignments.
2. REAFFIRMATION – Having someone with credentials, i.e. lecturers, commenting and complimenting me on my work are exactly the kind of positive reinforcement I need as it gives me the reaffirmation that I’m doing things right and well. It boosts my self esteem knowing that I am good at something.
3. CONFIDENCE – And when I have someone telling me that I’m good at something, it gives me confidence with my work. It helps me do my work and talk about it confidently. I don’t feel out of place or inferior about it.
4. CONNECTIONS – University is probably the best and the easiest way to connect with people. And having a connection with them, I think, helps you in many ways. For example, when I was organising a project, connections in university are the ones who helped linked me to sponsors, etc. I’ve also gotten a job and helped people get a job through friends and lecturers in university.
5. CHANGE IN MINDSET – I think the most valuable thing I’ve gotten out of USM is a change in mindset. It’s the little things. I’ve changed the way I view Malaysian English through Dr. Rita’s course. I’ve changed the way I see Linguistics through Dr. Munir’s and Dr. Hajar’s classes. I’ve even learnt to love literature through Dr. Agnes’ class.
However, after spending so much time and money on something, we can’t help but question if it’s all worth it. And I think to answer that question, it all comes to this, “What’s your end goal?”
If our end goal, our purpose of going to university is simply because our ego dictates us to do so, then it should be worth it.
But my end goal is to get a job that I can be happy doing and to make money out of it. Can my annual salary match my university loan? My PTPTN loan is RM 26,000. So for my annual salary to match that amount of money, I need to make at least RM2166 per month.
So if you ask me now, am I making that amount of me, the answer would be NO. But I do have faith that I will soon.
But that brings me to another question, would Master’s be worth it?