I am friggin' bored out of my skin trying to study and work on my multitude of projects, essays, quizzes as the NUS academic semester roars to an end. Its always during this period that college students engage in activities they logically should not do:
- like catch an ENTIRE SEASON of a new television drama series (like Desperate Housewives or CSI) like what my friend did last sem,
- watch AS MUCH Youtube videos as possible like the indian chick opposite me in this study room is doing (plus guffawing uncontrollably, to her neighbors' furious glares),
- click on ALL their friends and friends' friends on Friendster, Hi5,
- run crazy distances (like i did who ran 12km 2 nights ago)…
So i am officially hating school, 3 months after returning from Silicon Valley where studies and work and play just fused together in such a unitary symbiotic fashion there was artistic beauty in it all. None so in Singapore. And where does all this schooling and education go towards? I question that because I dun see any of my peers enjoying what they study nor applying what they learnt in a more linear fashion, e.g. engineering, life science, arts, law, business grads flocking to i-banking and converging in one big orgy.
Another big rhetorical question, why do i keep feeling Stanford students seem to enjoy their studies so much more compared to NUS students? NUS students are so much more hardworking based on the hordes of eyebrow-furrowed students in the study rooms at all times of the semester while most US students have all the football tailgating parties, the frats and sororities parties, the no-reason-we-just-want-to-drink parties and still end up working at cool companies when they graduate and getting appreciated in their jobs and enjoying it at the same time. Making quite a general statement here, but my point is if education equates career success (and maybe satisfaction), why do Singaporeans' fanatically dilligent attitude towards education not translate into high career satisfaction?
Is it a lack of career choice in Singapore? Many graduates-to-be rely on the college career services to find them jobs and in NUS, there is a voracious supply of companies pounding on our doors and they all seem to be coming from the financial sectors, a lot of the investment banks. There's the consultancies as well, and consumer product giant P & G… and i dun really recall the rest cos they do not come to do recruitment talks. (Sidetracking: Ok, only cool company talk i went to this year was Google) Does Singapore only have these sectors? What happened to the media industry, TV, radio, advertising, newspaper, fashion, airline (budget airlines), telcos? Fair enough, there are graduates who join these companies but are less publicized but a fair amount of top graduates join the financial sectors for the money and social standing and that is my main gripe.
Yes, money is very important. I love money too and could think of a gadzillion ways to spend a billion bucks. But here's the thing, there's also at least a million ways to make money but many pple think it can only be through banking. And the thing is, many people dun really like banking at all. At least pple i know who has started working and complain to me. They reluctantly accepted it after graduating because over-enthusiastic recruiting agents made the banking sector the lowest-hanging fruit to pick for a career. And when they have started, they grudgingly willed themselves to like it before getting their senses so numbed 5 years down the road they no longer complain abt banking and return to their alma maters to evangelize their cool "sweatshop" jobs that pride materialism above quality of life.
Can a lucrative career exist outside of banking? Can young graduates actually find jobs that are aligned to their passions? Instead of choosing the jobs they dun like but are easier to get due to abundance? I believe so. What they have to do is ignore the obvious and search.
To all the patient and open-minded ones who read thus far, this is the type of post i write after too much Red Bull. Disagree all you want, if you have violent objections, maybe it means u haven't heard too many contrarian thoughts lately. Then you should. IF you really love banking, forgive what i say please. Cos I will need you to charge me cheap underwriting fees when my hypothetical startup goes IPO on NasDaq in Year 2011. Anyhow, good night and good luck.
Update: for those who enjoyed this, or are bored and wants a follow-up read, click here for a view on overseas Singaporeans.
Related Article: Thoughts about Life in Singapore