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Dear Engineering Students, There’s More To Life Than Just Getting Placed

By Rajat Panigrahi:

“Could not fair well enough in the JEE exams? Koi bat nai beta (No problem, son). Look at Mishraji’s son. He, too, didn’t score well in the entrance exams and failed to make it to IITs and NITs. Studied at some college and today he is working at one of the top consultancy services in the country. Even, Sharmaji’s son is studying over there and he told me that the college has succeeded in getting above 95 percent students placed this year.”

This has been the household story of many an Indian family and few of you must have been a product of this narrative. And when the father heard of the attractive 100 percent placement scheme from the neighbour, little did he know about how even it added to that figure. And by the time you get know of the ground reality of that 100 percent, you are already half way down on a wrong road (even though that’s the most traveled one) and you don’t have a choice but to continue on the journey. The journey of forty to fifty odd subjects, 8 semesters along with a few ‘good-for-nothing’ exams.

And then with due course, you would realise that even though you failed to do what you loved (something other than engineering) but tried to love what you are doing (engineering), that never happened.

Why? Because the deteriorated college environment never allowed you to do so. You would feel like being in a garden of thorns where, every now and then, you have to take well-gauged steps with the fear being pricked upon. And every time you try planting a flower in that garden and make a life of your own, your freedom would be chained. The presence of a lot of egocentric teachers around you doesn’t help. They come over to class with notes copied from books and recite the same just like how the priest chants some mantras from a Veda in the name of teaching.

But what’s worse is that as long you are within those four walls, you have to pay attention to the one standing in front you or at least you have to pretend to be attentive because, if you don’t do so, you would be deemed as an ‘uncultured’ student who is being disrespectful towards his teachers. Sadly we are living in a society where being mindful, immersed and interested in the class lecture along with carrying well-maintained notes are the yard sticks to measure how well-mannered a student is.

What happens this way is the supply of respect fails to satisfy the growing demands of it, making the student- teacher relationship a total chaos. But thanks to those very few teachers out there who understand student psychology better than their compatriots, survival becomes a bit easier for the students. So, the teaching methodologies need to be ‘knowledge imparting’ rather than being ‘GPA-oriented’ along with an examination scheme which would focus on mapping the understanding capabilities rather than the retention powers.

Then comes the much awaited 7th semester – the placement period. The regular classes gets halved and PowerPoint presentation classes are doubled. Every student out there gets diseased by the TCS fever. Of course the college holds cultural nights and the science and tech expo every year but when it comes to the much celebrated festivals, nothing can come any closer to the hype and hues the TCS placement period brings with it.

But what TCS does is, it murders the long aspiring dreams of CAT, GATE or or any other plans that the candidates had weaved some day to make it big in their life. Every bit of focus boils down to TCS. The desperation to get placed outplace the strong resolutions of bigger achievements. But if you peep deeper, then you would realise that it’s not TCS that transforms the perception of the students. Rather, it’s the way the placement authorities and faculty members portray TCS.

You would often listen to statements like, “Now at least, get serious. TCS is coming,” “If you behave this way then TCS is never going to hire you” and many more. To be precise, everything starts and ends with TCS and everything in the middle becomes irrelevant. Authorities and faculties eat, drink and breathe TCS. They would defend this proposition of theirs by saying that they are creating a sense of seriousness among students.

But little do they realise that by doing so, they are pushing the students into extreme pressure zones where the students start feeling that TCS is the first and last bus out there and if they miss it then they can never get over the line. This pressure keeps piling for a period of time, gets converted to stress and the fear of being rejected starts haunting the students. Then authorities keep forcing students to get into any of the companies coming and this is not because they are really bothered about a student not getting placed but because this would help them improve the placement percentage. Moreover, they can cash in on the first month salary of the students. Is this ridiculous? No, this isn’t. Because there is some sort of business going over there. It’s like, I pay you this much and you hire these many.

But my dear students, what exactly you need in life is to be sincere rather being serious. Sincere to yourself, to your dreams and to your aspirations. You need to realise that TCS is just a part of life not the whole life. So, don’t take it as life and death. It’s just like any other exam with a different name. If you get selected, then well and good and if you don’t, then something even better is awaiting you in the future.

To all those who get rejected, believe me, some day you would look back and realise that this was one of the best things that has ever happened to you. You just need to take the positives from it rather than weeping over the negatives. What’s important is to focus on the process rather than getting carried away by the moment. Nourish your aptitude skills, furnish your technical skills, work on your English, develop your soft skills (not for TCS but for a better tomorrow for yourself). It’s all about improving from how good you were day before.

Life is too short to brood over a TCS placement and there is a lot more to life than that. It’s okay if you don’t have a job which comes at the expense of your 1st salary. After all, you don’t need any one’s favor to earn a packet of bread for yourself. Just spend some time on Google and you would get the idea that there are a lot of better career options available on the other side.

Juniors, today you have the most important thing in your hand. That’s called time. So don’t get afraid of the uncertainties. Take a bit of risk because some day, you would desperately want to do something better but time won’t be on your side. Don’t let your originality fade away. Remember, ten years down the line, you would have a son or a daughter who would look up to you as a role model and might follow your foot steps. So make sure you leave your foot prints at the right place.

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  1. Srinivas Murthy

    I hear what you say.. As a father of a kid who is now pursuing “his dreams”, I would still say not everybody can always do “what they love” for a living.
    There can only be so many photographers, so many painters, so many cricket players and “musicians”. So, get adjusted to the realities of life,
    yes, its getting complicated and pressuresome to just keep the head above water. Learn to grin and bear, and do what you “love”, on the side.
    I can’t buy all the paintings in the world, music in the world, just to keep you folks employed and happy. You know that.

  2. Manoj Joshi

    basically what I saw in last 4 years of engineering, a white board and the black marker.
    no practical, only theory.
    it’s very hard to imagine those engineering equations.
    everyone is fighting for placement and marks.
    no creativity.
    Indian education system sucks!!
    students come to engineering colleges to find out the truth but their fighting is worthless.

  3. Mohammad Kashif

    Everyone generally says that 4 years of engineering is a waste. I did my graduation, then worked for 4 years and am now pursuing MBA. I learned a lot of soft skills in my engineering college which have proven to be very effective in my professional life also. We all diss engineering being what every one does (which is true also) but then graduation is not the end, engineering does open up a lot of avenues for you.
    My younger brother is also an engineer, he majored in Automobile engineering and right now is working in an insurance firm for automobile insurance. I wouldnt say that he is earning too much but he is happy with his life, he also does not have a clear cut answer where he is heading ( for that matter even i dont have one) but he enjoys and all those umpteen courses that he had taken, some of them are actually useful to him now.

  4. Prateek Jha

    Dear Rajat,
    I feel that complete justice has not been done while writing this article. Things are much more than what meets the eye, and its important to see things as they are to be able to really do something about it. Its from them who either think choosing engineering was a mistake /or their intention was only job ( they are choosing it via engineering) /or they really wanted to do something else that we get to hear these things. Which is in majority and hence can’t be ignored. But you know what, its nobody’s fault !!!
    Theres a very strong bias towards the word ‘Engineering’, which has been targetted because of a generalised majority with no fault of its own. Basically, the modern world is run by engineers. It has its own glory and significance. In foreign countries, engineers are highly respected. In India, it is problem. As much as there ar problem in politics, casteism, corruption, employment, education, woman empowerment, energy, food, land, suicides, rapes, BPL etc to name a few,
    What you’ve talked about are the “effects” when things don’t run properly as intended.
    Its just an “effect” of a much deeper issue we Indians deal with everyday.
    Its not that people don’t want to become an artist, musician, doctor, scientist, farmers, writer and what not. India has the highest youth population in the world. And there really are great talented people out here. I’ve met so many of them and have been humbled.
    The problem lies in the inability to provide opportunity, care and nurturance. Take our olympians for instance. India is also a poor country. Its right now almost impossible to provide opportunity to everyone such that they excel. Things just either manage to reach or donot reach at all. Again its not complete fault of govt. but also failings of us as Indian citizens. We don’t even help our neighbour today !!
    Engineering is just a fashion as bollywood once was where everyone wanted to become a ‘hero’. All the arts and sciences are required to complete a nation. Engineering is as important as the arts. Engineering today has themaximum probability of ensuring atleast the basic survival of an individual which is the present challenge of the majority of Indians. Not even what they really wish to do. Because their stomachs are not filled ! And they have a family to take care of.
    Hence it is wrong to say “Dear Engineering Students, There’s More To Life Than Just Getting Placed” not because it is wrong statement at all. I completely have followed they above. I am an engineer who loves engineering :P. I wish to see similar people around. Or a historian who loves history and a writer who loves writing. But we have writers/artists who ‘hate’ engineering. Totally out of the picture !
    Anyways, all I want to say is that above applies to the students when their stomachs are filled and they have a nurturing environment. Our problem lies much deeper and that is why things don’t seem in place.

  5. Satheesh Kumar

    What u had been furnished….is what exactly happens in all the engineering college around india….this is way what I passed out….youngsters should beware of it…we are the future of india….thanks for ur sharings….I mesmerized by reading this….
    satheesh kumar.,B.E

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