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Seize the day, grab the opportunity: Campus journalists

Our campus journalists give you advice on the course versus college debate

education Updated: Jun 06, 2016 20:21 IST
Akash Kumar
Akash Kumar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Campus journalists,HT Campus journalist,campus calling
HT Education Campus Journalists 2016 suggest aspirants to follow their passion.(ILLUSTRATION: ABHIMANYU SINHA)

Someone once said that everybody dies, but not everybody lives. Not everybody takes the advantage of opportunities. Not everybody takes the time to give, or serve, or appreciate. Not everybody takes a chance at something new or something different. Not everybody acts, so possibilities slip by. Weeks and classes slip by. Friends slip by. Many of us start asking what if we missed opportunities to take certain classes, make certain friends, build certain relationships. The golden mantra for life is, carpe diem or seize the day. Fortunate is the person who learns the importance of seizing the day and taking action.

Last week, we talked about our career ambitions and how we have fared in life so far. This week, with the CBSE results out, we all have started on our arduous quest for colleges. And with this quest has begun the never-ending debate on course versus college. Unfortunately, in our society, often the decision regarding this “make-or-break” choice is not fully enjoyed by the students themselves. They are often under a lot of pressure from their parents, peers and the society as a whole. The “uncleji” who hasn’t even talked to you in years suddenly appears out of the blue to advice (even impose) on what would be the best course of action for you.

Something that one needs to bear in mind here is that, nobody, not even your parents, knows you better than yourself. Listen to your heart, identify the things you like to do and the subjects you want to study. Pay heed to advice from others but never ever base your decision solely on that. At last, make a firm decision and stand by that whatever happens. If you sincerely try to persuade your parents, I am sure that at the end of the day they would approve of your choice.

Like most of you, our gang of six is also facing this dilemma. But on the behalf of my team, I am confident in saying that all those numerous pieces of advice have not clouded our reason. We are set to follow our passions and eventually hope to emerge as the best in what we aspire to do.

Read more: Campus Calling: 6 students to Snapchat 6 most stressful weeks of their lives

Akash kumar, University School of Jamia Millia

Destiny is not a matter of chance, but of choice

Being a student in a university school, I have thoroughly enjoyed its perks by availing the vast array of facilities otherwise available to only college students. But, there is a big downside to it as well. Jamia Millia Islamia administers its school exams on its own and the university board is traditionally a low-scoring one.

“The formula for success is to be the very best in what you do. Taking up a course which you have no interest in would lead you nowhere, even if it’s in a reputed college,” says Akash kumar . (Sonu Mehta/ Hindustan Times)

So I don’t get the luxury of even dreaming of getting into the so-called top colleges of Delhi University north campus. My only gateway to DU is to take the entrance examination for the BA (hons) humanities and social sciences offered by the Cluster Innovation Centre of the university. In my opinion, it’s one of the most innovative and off-beat courses offered in India. It’s based on the Meta college concept and has an interdisciplinary nature which helps instill the passion for research in students at the undergraduate level. Students get to choose any DU college to pursue any paper of their choice. So, one can go to Hindu College even if he has scored 70%. Interesting, isn’t it?

I think that my choice of colleges and courses is unconventional. The big question for me is whether to go abroad or to stay in India. I have got an admission offer from the University of British Columbia in Canada for their international relations programme. Despite being one of the popular universities in the world, it’s very expensive and I have come to the conclusion that I simply can’t afford it. I have also got into the University of Oregon in the US with a tuition waiver but even the living costs there are unaffordable. So, at this point of time, I am thinking of staying in India for my undergraduate degree. I have zeroed in on the integrated master’s in development studies offered by IIT-Madras. Looking at the course structure, I can say that has an interdisciplinary approach and also promises to give expertise in the specialisation of my choice.

The formula for success is to be the very best in what you do no matter what it is. Taking up a course which you have no interest in would lead you nowhere even if it’s in a very reputed college.

Read more: Meet our campus journalists: They can’t wait to get started

Just follow your heart and choose the course you love

Noor Bhatnagar, Bal Bharti Public School, Noida

The Class 12 results were declared two days earlier than expected. And at last, all apprehensions were put to rest. Now, we are approaching another cliffhanger – that of the cut-offs and college admissions and making the choice between course and ­college.

So, with my best-four percentage at 95.75%, I really hope that I make it to St Stephen’s, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, or Hindu College. Will I get into these colleges with a percentage like that? I will have to wait and watch.

“In the ultimate battle of course versus college, the choice of course knocks out the choice of college in every round! I will not sacrifice my passion for just a brand name of a college,” says Noor Bhatnagar. (Sonu Mehta/ Hindustan Times)

For me, in the ultimate battle of course versus college, the choice of course knocks out the choice of college in every round! I would prefer studying my choice of course, which is political science honours, in any decent college which will ignite my passion for this subject, rather than studying in the prestigious SRCC with a subject like economic honours, which has nothing to do with my career prospects. Journalism and sociology are my favourites too.

I will not sacrifice my passion for just a brand name of a college. Of course, the name of the college matters because in today’s world, when someone looks at your resume, the first thing they see is the name of your university/college.

Even though the battle of course versus college might seem very unpredictable, difficult and confusing to many, it is quite easy to follow the rule – ‘do what you love!’ Yes, it is risky, you might fail initially, and you might regret it too, but in the end, you can determine your career path. At times, it is better to listen to your heart than doing what your mind suggests. I would suggest that all of you too choose course over college.

Go for a course you are really passionate about

Sara Grover, Carmel Convent, Chanakyapuri

Life is an enigma and the choices we make are like pieces of the puzzle. Our choices have an inevitable impact on our lives. It won’t be wrong to say that these choices shape our life. Choosing the right course and the right college are two important career decisions. However, many students make the mistake of giving more importance to college than course.

“If you have a goal in mind, know that there is a particular course that holds your interest. Giving weightage to the course over college will ensure that you’ll enjoy studies,” says Sara Grover. (HinduSonu Mehta/ Hindustan Times)

The dilemma that we all are facing at present is whether to pursue a preferred course from a less preferred college or to pursue a programme which is our second choice from a top college or university. A lot of students, when asked to choose between course and college, prefer joining a top college and taking up a course in which they have little or no ­interest.

I believe that such a decision is a grave error of judgement. The course plays a crucial role in defining our interests. What a course and passion for a subject can offer you, no college in the world can. I want to pursue economics honours and would not mind settling for a less known Delhi University college.

Opting for the course of your choice is all about pursuing your passion. If you have a goal in mind, know that there is a particular course that holds your interest. Giving weightage to the course over college will ensure that you’ll enjoy what you’ll be studying. It also means that you will do well academically. Studying a course that does not interest you can undermine your performance. Having an exceptional academic record in a course you love even from a not-so popular college is better than being dissatisfied with your course and not doing well in one of the best colleges.

We must realise that not faring well or not being a part of the 95 Club does not mean that you don’t have anything to do. We must never give up on our course and passion just because the cut-offs tell us we can’t do it.

Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed, I have found ten thousand ways that won’t work.” So, as a fellow student waiting not-so-eagerly for the dreaded cut-offs to be out, I say that let’s hope for the best and even if we don’t make it, we must not give up on our dream course. It isn’t the end because success is not final and failure is not fatal. And remember never to confuse a single defeat with the final one.

I will opt for economics or BCom honours even if it means settling for an off campus college or a not-so-reputed college. Steve Jobs, former Apple CEO, ended up dropping out of college to pursue his dream and ended up owning a multi-million dollar enterprise.

Take up a course that interests you

Shivam Parashar, St Columba’s School

Nothing scares me more than not being able to study what I want to and it is this fear that makes me vote for course over college. After last week’s questions such as ‘how much did you score?’ we all are soon going to be badgered with questions like ‘which college did you get into?’

We all will have to start worrying about college admissions. While most of us have our eyes set on a particular career we are still wondering which college to join and which course to go for. In this rush for a college, we all seem to go for the most popular college that we can get into. No doubt choice of college matters but at what cost? Is choosing the college on the basis of its brand value, rather than on the course offered, worth the sacrifice?

“It is all a matter of finding where our passion lies and then pursuing it with vehement effort. If you do what you love, you will not fail. If you pursue the course of your choice, a number of avenues await you,” says Shivam Parashar. (Sonu Mehta/ Hindustan Times)

Getting into a first tier college does seem very tempting. However, it serves no good to get into the college only to pursue a degree that is completely out of sync with our career goals. There are always chances of someone ending up studying subjects that does not interest him only because of prioritising college over course. For the next few years, we will be studying subjects that will be determined by the choices we make now. There is no denying the fact that a good college will more often than not lead to good placements. However, as popular media very rightly teaches us, there is more to life than money. If you were to pursue a subject that you have no interest in, you are likely to end up in a job that was never your calling. On the other hand, if you were to pursue the course of your choice in a lesser known college, the various career avenues of your liking await you. Even if getting a hefty pay slip is what you desire, I promise you that the maxim – ‘do what you love’ will not fail you. The Internet abounds with stories of college dropouts getting high paying jobs, not to mention graduates from a supposedly lesser known college. Trying to tidy up your CV with a fancy college name is not the only option you have when companies come calling. Irrespective of his/her college one always has the option of internships, online courses, and academic excellence in the required field to spruce up the CV. It is all a matter of finding where our passion lies and then pursuing it with vehement effort.

Another aspect that needs to be considered, especially while thinking of going to a different city for higher education is the amount of exposure that the city can offer. This factor becomes all the more indispensable when talking about career paths that are dependent solely on an individual’s prowess. Here again choosing a popular college in a city that won’t be able to provide you with an ample exposure in the field is not a wise choice. As I talked about it earlier, I wish to pursue law and hence I would prefer to do it in a college in the capital, simply because the presence of a vibrant debating culture, presence of prominent lawyers and several other opportunities to showcase and hone my talents that are present in the Capital, are probably unparalleled. My college experience can be enhanced by taking part in the various out of college extracurricular activities that this vibrant city offers. It’s not about which college you get into, it’s about what you do in your college that counts.

Dream course from good college works

Ankita Raina, Shanti Gyan Niketan, Dwarka

The CBSE Class 12 results resulted in a mixed bag of emotions for me. Some of you might be satisfied with your results and some of you might not be. Some of you might be ready to join college and some of you might still be depressed over your Class 12 percentage. But, at this time, when the college admissions are approaching, is this really the time to cry over spilt milk? We are all worried about our next course of action.

Often, the counselling that we get from our family and friends leaves us more confused. The actual challenge before us is how we battle these confusions and questions and take the right decision. Getting into the best college is everyone’s dream, but a good college cannot alone shape your career.

“Getting into the best college is everyone’s dream, but a good college cannot alone shape your career. A good college with the course of your choice is what serves the purpose,” says Ankita Raina. (Sonu Mehta/ Hindustan Times)

A good college with the course of your choice is what serves the purpose. One wrong choice and you might regret it forever. We have a number of choices to make in life. Some are more important and some are less important. Choosing a career option is one of the most important choices in our lives. If, for example, I want to take up English honours as a course and St Stephen’s is my dream college. On my priority list, English honours should rank above St Stephen’s. I’ll prefer taking up English honours from a mediocre college than doing some other course from St Stephen’s. Choosing the suitable course is taking a step ahead towards your dream. Passion and interest are the key ingredients to the recipe of success. If you lack even one of the two, you are not going to be as successful as you thought you would be. The subject that you choose to pursue should be the subject that you are most interested in. If I take up the less preferred course from a prestigious college, I’ll end up lagging behind the students who took up the course of their choice in the college. It happens because in this situation, one has to rebuild one’s interest in a new subject. You don’t have a real goal set in your mind anymore. You might get a good job, but it won’t ever be good enough as it would not cater to your interests. You might earn a good amount of money, but it still would never be enough. On the other hand, performing very well in the course you love even from a mediocre college is still better than following a random course half-heartedly. If you follow what you love, you’ll be more than satisfied with the outcome. You’ll be satisfied that, at the end of the day, you’re doing what you’re best at.

Now, keeping all the factors of the debate in mind, it is our decision to choose the right college with the right course for ourselves and be satisfied with our choices at the end of the day.

Like for many literature aspirants, St Stephen’s has always been my dream college too. To be taught by some of the best teachers and to study among the best students is everybody’s dream. My priority is English honours and I will take it up wherever I am eligible for admission.

Focus on your passion

Bhrigu Bagga, Presidium, Indirapuram

In the course versus college debate, colleges come second on my list. Choosing a college is a very difficult decision because pursuing a course from a very well-known institution with high fees may not guarantee a bright future.

Your passion to learn something new should be the only factor that determines your future. The simple advice I have to offer is that you should sit with your parents and discuss what is the ideal course/college for you and try and convince them about your choice.

“Do not be upset if you don’t find your name in any of the top DU colleges because what will matter in the end is how much you have learnt,” says Bhrigu Bagga. (Sonu Mehta/ Hindustan Times)

This is the time we must start investing in our future. We all have got to invest quality time and efforts to get maximum returns. So, only opt for the course which you are interested in.

Colleges or universities are secondary, so do not be upset if you don’t find your name in any of the top DU colleges because what will matter in the end is how much you have learnt. Today, there is no dearth of courses to choose from with offbeat careers also offering great scope. All you need to do is identify your area of interest, visualise yourself in that profession and, most importantly, find out if you have the aptitude for it.

The Campus Journalists’ picture of the week

Guiding light: The Campus Journalists’ picture of the week by Shivam Parashar shows a bookseller at north campus with Gandhiji smiling benignly, almost as if he’s blessing the books. (Hindustan Times)

First Published: Jun 06, 2016 16:44 IST