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IsSaSsY! #5 Wow We’ve Got This Far… But Why?

October 9, 2006

I suppose this is something I should have put up first but I just thought of it so never mind. Maybe I’ll renumber it #0, but for continuity I choose #5 anyway. This is a bloody long post, by the way.

I think many many students ask themselves: Why? Why do I slog through all this garbage dump sized mounds of paper just to end up with yet another bit of paper that says how well I wrote on more bits of paper. Why, in short, should I study?

Am I going to need this information in twenty years time, when I’m slogging away at pieces of paper (digital paper perhaps) to earn teeny bits of paper that I trade for items needed to sustain my life? (The abbreviation of the previous sentence:  I’m not using whatever I’m learning in twenty year’s time when I’m working, am I?)

The answer to that is no.

So, back to the first question: Why Should I (and You, my friend) Study?

There is one simple answer: You study to secure a job. Because if you want it easy in the last few decades in your twilight years, money is what you need (unless you’re Brin and Page, or Gates. Wink wink.) Because one of the easiest (and probably the most stable) ways to get money is by getting a job. And to get a cushy job after graduation… What you need are results.

And for referential purposes, here is the reasoning behind that answer. Imagine yourself as an interviewer, looking through piles of resumes to find suitable workers that you can hire. Now, imagine and compare two resumes before you, one of which is that of an honours student, head of the student council, sports captain, school debater… in short, the works. Let’s call these types of people the SuperStudent (face it, they’re nothing less than that). Compare that with the typical graduate, some honours, but mostly B’s to his name. Member of a couple of clubs and societies, a few ‘outstanding’ certificates. Let’s call these people the Usses (Us-ses, get it? Har har. Har. *cries*) Who would you call up for the interview? Both? Okay, fine. But who would you hire? That’s the golden question.

And here I shall include the second reasoning:  Competition. As I am Malaysian (and one who at least reads the papers most of the time) I will reason with what I know (along with some splatterings of assumptions. I apologise for that).  Currently  at least 100 000 students study at each year of school (actually the real number is higher). That means in Form 5 (the last year of school) there are 100 000 students countrywide; this number will only increase as the nation’s population grows. From this number I assume 60 to 70 percent of these students will endeavour and likely succeed in entering an institution of higher learning. Fine. So each year there are at least 60 to 70 thousand college/university students studying either locally or abroad, and I make the assumption that 90 percent of these people will succeed and graduate with a degree. So the ( very conservative) amount of about 50 to 60 thousand Malaysian graduates enter the job market yearly.

Remember the SuperStudents and the Usses? Now. With the estimate that at least 3% of all graduates are SuperStudents (the number might be higher, I don’t know) and roughly 60% of graduates are Usses, we end up with what, 1500 (3% of 50k) SuperStudents, and 30 thousand (60% of 50k) Usses. The rest… Um, they’d be lower down the ladder than the Usses, so let’s not mention them.
Oookay. So. I make another assumption. Malaysia being Malaysia, I have the personal opinion that a minimum of 25% from the SuperStudents will not in fact end up working in Malaysia at all. So that makes 1125 Malaysia-working SuperStudents, and 30 thousand Usses to compete with. Consider the next question carefully. Which category do you fall in: the SuperStudents, or the Usses?

Say you are a SuperStudent. When you compete with a fellow SuperStudent, the odds of employment, I would suppose, are roughly equal. Competing with one of the Usses, you are sure to get the job. So. How many SuperStudents do you compete with (in Malaysia, at least)?

And if you are of the Usses. How many of your ‘kind’ do you compete with?

Now, which category do you want to fall into? Remember, the cushier the job, the more the applications, and the higher the probability of SuperStudent application as well.

Do you understand now why you need to study?

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