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“Getting A Master’s Degree For The Sake Of Getting One, Holds No Value”

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By Nandhitha Ravindran:

Off late, my Facebook news feed has been flooded with statuses about people moving to new cities and schools in pursuit of a Master’s degree. Aptly named, the fall season does cause a dip in my self-esteem level every time I come across such a status.

“How do they have it all figured out?” “How do they know what they want to pursue?”

The other day at a family gathering, my relative (I think) asked me about my plans for the future, “Aren’t you doing your Master’s?”

As I ogled at him with distraught blankness, he said, “Dream big, dear,” and walked off. I am still unsure if that was intended to be motivational or just a pitiful mock at my cluelessness.

Having recently completed my Bachelors, I know I am not alone when I say I have no clue about what I want to do henceforth. In fact, I have taken a year off to figure out what I like and what I want to pursue. I am quite happy about this decision. But I would be lying if I said I’m not bothered by these occasional questions by friends/family or when I see my peers starting their grad-life.

Having said that, something that I also learnt from my friends and peers is that most of them take up a Master’s program for the sake of it. No, I am not saying they don’t want to do it, or they are forced to do so. They simply take it up as the next course of action and is not as premeditated as it ought to be.

Let me explain.

The current scenario is that a student finishes schooling, does a Bachelor’s and immediately moves on to a Master’s program.

Safely assuming that schooling is fundamental and that most of us have enjoyed it, the Bachelor’s degree is something we are forced into, one way or another. A student seldom gets the exact undergraduate course that she/he wishes for.

I am going as far as to say, whatever we do up until our undergrad is relatively less significant than our Master’s. But before we get into ‘grad life’, we need to be so much more prepared — mentally, financially, physically, educationally and most importantly, experientially.

The infamous Tarantino quote, “I didn’t go to film schools, I went to films,” stresses the importance of hands-on experience. No, I am not saying don’t do a Master’s or go the drop-out way. Absolutely not.

But getting a Master’s degree for the sake of getting one, holds no value.

Why spend tonnes of money and effort if we aren’t prepared and 100% sure of our decision? Also, we need no telling about how competitive and demanding the professional world can be.

If you are just another person with a Master’s degree, how relevant will you be? More importantly, are you going to be completely satisfied with doing something half-heartedly?

A Master’s degree is supposed to help you specialise in a particular field and thereby master it. (No shit!). So how sure are we about what we want to pursue? And how prepared are we for that?

An article I came across online explained how, being prepared for a PG course, with experience and a clear perspective makes it that much more meaningful and worthwhile.

It also brought me to the revelation that -Most of us are driven by a sense of urgency and not by a sense of purpose.

We fear being late, we fear society’s perception, and we fear never being able to figure out. Hence, we end up going with the flow. We think, just like our under graduation we will figure this one out too, in due course. That, in my opinion, is the biggest mistake we millennials make.

So if you are someone like me, who just finished your undergrad and have no clue what you want to do, what you really shouldn’t do, is a Master’s. That will, in fact, prove to be counterproductive.

Find your purpose. The biggest luxury life presents to you at this age, is the ability to experiment. (Don’t experiment by doing Master’s though.)

Get a job, intern at a cool new startup or that big corporate you’ve always admired; volunteer abroad or even at a local NGO. Or simply travel.

Invest in relationships and friendships. Investing in doing things you love and things that make you happy.

When people talk about finding our purpose or finding our passion, it may seem whimsical and far-fetched. But (after sifting through several Self-help articles and Awkward Yeti memes) I have realised, in finding yourself, you find your purpose. When you liberate yourself and simply do things you enjoy, you are allowing your mind to develop and get inspired.

Now, that doesn’t mean you take long naps and vacations. You don’t chill. You have to do something that’s relevant to where you want to see yourself. You may not know what you want to do. But you do know what you don’t want to do. That’s a start!

I do not know what I want to pursue. But I have options. Everyone does. Or at least likes dislikes and a passion for something. Take up a job or project you’d enjoy, and that’s pertinent to what you want to likely pursue. You may not be sure of it nor see yourself in that field in the long run. That’s okay. As it is often reiterated, we have the freedom to experiment.

Experience and experimenting build us up. It makes us mentally and vocationally relevant thereby better preparing us for when we pursue our Master’s and subsequently, for our career as well.

So if you’re clueless, it’s okay. You have just got to start experimenting.

Find your purpose. Then Master it.


You must be to comment.
  1. Vipul Vaidya

    I really loved d way she narrated the situation most of the young generation is facing,specifically myself so I grateful to NANDHITHA for motivating me to do what iam really passionate for. Thanq Nandhitha 🙂

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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