I have spent more time in school than the average person. You can say that I have spent more time in grad school than I did in college! College education in India is fairly linear in that once you get in, you know exactly when you’re going to graduate, and what you’re going to end up doing. In my case, I was destined to goto North Carolina State University to get a Master’s in Computer Engineering. Again, I took a prescribed path and graduated in 3 semesters with significant research experience that pulled me towards doing more research. This is where I took the off-beat path, and ended up getting another master’s degree from NCSU.
If there’s one skill I truly honed in graduate school, it is the skill to be “meticulously adaptive”. I have now developed the capability to work on almost any kind of project, any kind of technology, and basically bring it to completion. To me, graduate school is more about developing the right attitude than getting some knowledge. Of course, knowledge comes with attitude, especially if you set out to get a doctoral degree, which is essentially a seal certifying “total” knowledge of a subject matter.
Now that I am out of school (at least for quite some while), I realize that the real world is not very hard to adapt to for someone who has the same kind of experiences as myself (I will write about what exactly I did in my graduate school years at some other time). In the real world, it is a whole lot easier to exceed expectations, for one. Then there’s the whole work to get paid deal. You don’t have to consistently slog hard and exceed expectations AS A RULE to make a living. I enjoy working on more than one thing at once because it gives me the flexibility to refresh my brain during certain phases of one project, and I am glad to be able to continue this tradition.
I believe that success comes naturally to everyone. There’s no force strong enough to stop someone from getting what they truly desire. As such, everyone is successful in their own way. When I was in grad school, I used to dream about working for Microsoft. Maybe my desire wasn’t strong enough, and hence I am definitely not working at Microsoft, but I am working on things that make me happy. Now, I could have been happier working at Microsoft, but I just did not want that to happen strongly enough. Of course, there’s a certain philosophy to this, and I would write about why it’s always better to let circumstances mould our life than to try to engineer it, at some other time. Now, I just want to make it clear that by saying circumstances, I am not implying the benefits of lack of goals in life, rather, a careful analysis of one’s current state vis-a-vis their ideal state.
Do I think I made a bad move by not trying to find a job with my favorite company? Certainly not. I am on the right track, and am definitely getting as much in benefits as a regular Microsoft employee sans many negatives, and of course, with many cons. But, on the outset, I think I am handling the transition fairly well, and am actually trying to make some difference in the world I live in.
I think my graduate school experiences have moulded me into a person who has the capability to take on any sort of challenge in life, often times getting pulled towards them.