Preetha Anne Stephen completed her graduation from Assumption College, Changanassery, Kerala, and postgraduation in English literature from Stella Maris College, Chennai, before completing a PG diploma in Journalism from Asian College of Journalism, Chennai. Having lived the journalist’s life in Bangalore with a leading daily, this 28-year-old wanted to pursue her other passion — designing — after getting married and settling in New York, USA. Her background in journalism does not seem to have deterred her from taking up a course in a completely different field.
Indian universities have a lot going for them — memorable campus life, interesting teachers, good friends and let’s not forget the canteen! One can’t deny that studying in India is an experience, one that I will look back on fondly and ever so amusedly. The stories can fill several dinner conversations and can bring forth laughter or heated debates on a revived subject, which was long forgotten. However, the Indian educational system does not prepare us for a real work environment. Yes we do learn on-the-job, but it is not fair to assume that if pushed off a cliff, we will eventually fly.
The first job is always a little intimidating and lack of proper preparation affects newcomers badly. Career workshops on what to expect at a workplace, updates on what is current in the relevant industry, opportunities to meet and interact with working professionals have to be included in the curriculum. Another glaring issue is the lack of emphasis on networking. It is such an important part of today’s workforce – it should ideally be cultivated at college level and not after getting a job.
My college professors in New York reiterate the importance of networking so often that I feel the need to be on a constant prowl for an opportunity to make a “friend”. The undeniable fact is that a college education should prepare us to be comfortable, if not completely ready, for employment, and I personally feel that students do not benefit from our current university infrastructure on this matter.