Education: A word that seems to be the centre of everyone’s universe, but now its not doing its job of keeping everything in its position. These are unprecedented times, changing faster than ever. The life and career strategies that once worked for boomers won’t work for millenials and Gen-Z’s. Now-a-days, everyone is highly qualified, but people still fail to grab placements.
Consider this: A 12 -year-old joins an IIT or a NEET academy under the pressure of his parents, who felt that a good degree will help him earn a living. He tries to focus and develop an interest in studies at the cost of his own mental and physical health. He gets into an average college, works at a job he doesn’t love and feels overburdened all the time. This is the life of a typical student in India. Doesn’t sound fun, right?
Our education system is outdated and holds little relevance in today’s world. Traditional education kills children’s passion to their core. They are forced to read, forced to listen, forced to write that information in which they have no interest. This leads them to believe they never can do anything that they like. This causes mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, personality disorders, PTSD, etc. in them.
The main shortcoming of our education system is that it encourages rote learning, rather than actual understanding of the subject. Students are focused on scoring more, rather than learning more. Education system penalises you for your mistakes, shuns creativity, holds little scope for skill development and is an incorrect measure for one’s intelligence. Afterall, some of the smartest minds in the world are college dropouts.
This begs the question, if not education and degrees, then what is it that will make you stand out of the crowd.
What will give you an edge over others?
To answer that, first let’s take a look at this bit of information. There are two types of jobs, service oriented and creativity oriented. Service oriented jobs are repetitive in nature, easy to emulate and hardly require one to be creative. On the other hand, creativity oriented jobs require generating fresh ideas, finding alternative solutions. It allows them to lead people working under service jobs.
Service jobs are slowly going out of trend, they will soon be taken over by AI (Artificial Intelligence) which is far more cost efficient and accurate in arriving at results than humans. The one sphere in which AI won’t surpass humans is creativity. Creative jobs cannot be emulated, cannot be sustained in a specific framework and cannot be programmed into any form of AI. They never go out of trend because of this very reason.
This is what will set you apart from the crowd. Not just your degree, but the diversity of your skill set and creativity. Along with that, your communication skills, your ability to adapt to dynamic situations, your portfolio and your certifications. All of these will be collectively evaluated by the interviewers and recruiters to judge, if you are the one they are looking for.
How to reach that level of excellence?
Start working on a niche that grabs your attention. Give a hundred hours to each field that interests you. Learn, make mistakes, learn again and repeat. You never know, which skill might come in handy.
Work on your communication Skills. As a student, you develop these skills in class discussions with teachers or other students. But what about communicating with people when you are in an unfamiliar environment? If that sentence got your nerves worked up, then it is a sign that you need to work at it. Speak up to people. Express your opinions eloquently and with concision. Communication skills will help you take your game to the next level. It will help you climb the corporate ladder, or better, exit the corporate ladder to do something of your own.
Get your hands on a few certifications. The college degrees come into play, when one needs to know the legitimacy of a skilled professional. Professionals who are handling work that requires a higher degree of care (which once breached will cause severe damage to the clients) need to be put under a supervening body. This body regulates their work and keeps any unfair practices in check. For instance, lawyers and doctors need a degree and a license to practise. We can’t imagine a freelance doctor coming up doing surgery. They need to be trained and tested before they go into the field.
The same cannot be said for the skill-based work or certifications. Getting into jobs of writing, art, music and photography requires you to be skilled at it. They are not dependent on a college degree and such courses can be pursued alongside your regular course. It will add to your portfolio, and the added experience will add to your CV.
Skill added with passion gives you a superpower. Skills without passion are like coconuts devoid of water. Passion is the core of all principles. Imagine you learned skills with little to no interest in it. You can’t explain about it with the liveliness behind it. Other people can sense it. It results in the downfall of your career.
Learn a way to market your skill. Use social media to create a personal brand of yours. All the skills can be used to generate a new source of income. Use Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and many other platforms to market and monetize your skill.
Last but not least, education isn’t something that is irrelevant or redundant. Skills are definitely outshining the significance of education, but we need to understand that elementary education is what creates a foundation for your subsequent learning. Many people realize that personal development is the need of the hour, but they are not getting into action. Life requires actual survival skills. It’s unpredictable and ever-changing. One should always be ready for unexpected turns of events and keep some backup plans ready, incase Plan A doesn’t work out.
In my opinion, the best way to start your career is to focus on your holistic development along with your traditional education. A balance between the two is of utmost importance, in order to grab the best career opportunities in life. Instill a habit of learning and reading in yourself.Learn financial skills, social skills, and whatever artistic skills that interest you. Look at hurdles and challenges with a positive perspective and challenge your present self to be better than your past one. The education system might have its fair share of problems, but you can always overcome them with your strong research and skills.