So, what's next?

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Spoilt for choice And for once, plurality doesn't seem like such a nice thing, especially for those torn between a lucrative job and promising post-graduation. TANYA THOMAS and PRAVEEN IYER

Yes, I did the rigmarole of school, then followed the herd to a graduate degree — and like Aamir, I'm now asking ‘Next is What'? Suddenly the security of a college student ID is past tense and the road ahead is multi-forked — do I take the job with its plum pay package and postpone studying for a while or ‘specialiSe' in what-I'm-guessing is my area of interest. My mind is arguing both sides of the picture, weighing pros against cons. And the noisy clamour in my head also realises that this time, ‘my' decision is solely ‘my' responsibility. Sometimes, it's just easier to do as you're told.

Confusion confounded

Amrutha Kuber, a fresh MOP graduate, puts it succinctly: “I was first choosing between an MBA and a PG in Mass Communication, and then between working and studying and now I think if I do get the job I really want, I might have to choose between the job and studying and working part time with an ex-boss.” Or, she could dig a hole in the ground and hide.

The dilemma is no joke though. Ever since the introduction of campus recruitments, students with under-graduate degrees have had to choose between enticing pay packages in uber cool work environments and signing up for a post-graduate course. Work does seem advisable as experience in the industry (although not mandatory for a Masters in India) helps in not only applying what you've learnt and streamlining your skills; it also teaches ‘perspective' and moulds your individuality; as opposed to rushing through degree after degree like a bull against matadors. On the other hand, very few who opt for a job will ever trudge back to a classroom.

Sometimes, the decision is not entirely yours; parents and mentors may play a role. But mostly, it's the student's opinion that holds sway. Preeti Pratap, a student at SSN College of Engineering, prefers to study further: “Just for the love of it. I expect the next two years of my life to be very enriching both scientifically and culturally.” But post-PG, jobs aren't handed on a platter, especially for arts and science students who realise it's their turn to pursue. So how much does a wrong choice cost? And is there a second chance?

As it comes

Nithya Alse, a fellow Commerce graduate confesses, “It's all been so confusing and frustrating to understand how my decision now will reflect in the future. But I think it's okay to not know the answers to everything. They'll come to us when we least expect it.”

Manju Thomas, who's chosen the studying route, is more gung-ho. She sums up a treatise on her decision-making process and how she's game for the consequences with the classic line from casino circuits, “Hit me”.

There are a few lucky ones whose stars are in line, who've always known where they're headed besides knowing how to get there. For the rest of us it's a journey of faith into an unknown future, with both blind faith and some apprehension in the rucksack.

Tanya is sizing up a job against a course. Praveen is doing the same with two jobs and two admits from different Universities.