Charting’s Life Course

Just yesterday Melanie suddenly smsed me to talk about MBA. The other time at her house I noticed her mother had just completed the executive MBA in NUS, and hence I asked her to help me find out about the course. The answer was that the cost varies from $30k for a normal MBA to $80k for an executive MBA. That’s not the point but Melanie proceeded on to ask me about what I wanted to do in the future.

Apparently she has been asking many other people too, and they all seem to have definite ideas of what they want to do in the future. And that makes her feel a little sad to be different.

But I feel that most of us are just heading on aimlessly, not knowing what we want to do. And I don’t know why that is so, but is it due to our education system where we are just trained to learn and regurgitate, and hence we do not know what we want to do in life, because we have so few experiences other than studying? In a way I dare say that most of the people do not know what exactly they want to study in university. Most have just a vague selection algorithm that involves the selection of a course that they are good in. For example, those good in math and sciences go into engineering or the science faculty, whilst those good in the humanities go to FASS. Beyond that, whether we choose to go into mechanical or electrical, well, I doubt we really understand the course anyway. When I finished my JC, I had no idea what electrical engineering was about, but I just selected it and stumbled in head first, luckily it was still a great journey.

What I mean was it is actually a normal occurrence for Singapore students not to know what they truly wanted to do. But in the course of university, as we grow up and learn more about the various industries and sectors, slowly we’ll begin to shape our life’s plan. In fact, some of us will still graduate not knowing what they would want to do, and will randomly select companies that offers them a job.

Not many people will plan their life and tell you where they see themselves in 5 years time. It’s the same as why there exists people who didn’t plan to save their money, and spend their salary the moment they get it. There will be people who lead more structured lives, and they will plan a rough idea (to account for some flexibility) of what they want to achieve. Hence milestones in life like the first car, the first house, the wedding etc would fall nicely as some form of plans have been made.

University is a great time to know more people and talk to them. Share life experiences and thoughts, and extract and learn only the good ones. At least, if by the time one graduates, he or she should have a general idea about the future, and that is enough, I guess.

4 thoughts on “Charting’s Life Course

  1. haha, I think MBA can wait for company to sponsor you to study, if needed.

    I think actually there’s no need to plan our life 5 years ahead, because life is just too unpredictable. Things don’t usually go the way we want anyway.

  2. Hi there,

    Not every company sponsors the MBA actually, so there’s still a high chance I have got to sponsor the studies myself. 🙂

    Hmm. The planning element is flexible in a way to account for the unpredictable nature. It’s like I’m saving for an MBA, but I did not restrict when I will take the MBA. Perhaps in the middle I might have to use the money for some emergency, but the final goal is to get the MBA.

    The difference between those who become successful and those who do not is perhaps the vision, in the sense that you know what you want and you work towards it. Some goals never change even if life is unpredictable. Besides, things don’t go the way we want is not a valid reason for not preparing to fulfil your dreams.

    What I mean by planning is that it is a rough guide. It is not so detailed that you specify when you change jobs, which job you want to go to, what’s the salary you want. We plan to become manager by 5 years, it does not have to be restricted to a company. We plan to achieve about $X – $Y for our salary. It’s a rough guide and it is quite flexible. Life might be unpredictable but as long as you aim for it, you’re already much better than people who are just contented.

  3. I like the phrase “vague selection algorithm” the most in the entire entry. lol. Anyway…

    I think apart from people generally being too focused on studies, it’s also the kind of life that we grow up in. I mean, since young, the path is life for the vast majority would be pre-psch -> psch -> sec sch -> some tertiary institute -> (ns for guys) -> and perhaps uni for a sizable number of people.

    It’s like the route is all panned out and thus many people (myself included) don’t really start planning what they want in life (post studies) quite many years later. For the most part of our lives so far, we try our best to walk this “templated” life-road in a manner that we are able to accept and find some amounts of satisfaction/achievement in it. Or maybe the above is all just an excuse for not having a good (overall) plan/aim in life.

    Ok it’s late. I should go rest. =P

  4. Haha at that time you were writing this I still couldn’t sleep (assuming the clock timing is Singapore time). Is this the first time you write a serious comment? I forgot le.

    And perhaps we all fall into the stereotype that says study hard, go uni, get degree = get good job = success that it just seems like the only path. Everything’s already pre-determined for us?

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