Art2ro Posted February 29, 2012 Posted February 29, 2012 http://ph.news.yahoo...-194051630.htmlMANILA, Philippines - Some weeks ago, I took the time to meet up with old college friends and meet their other friends-still-in-college. The one question I was most frequently asked on that occasion was "What are you taking up?"- which, apparently, is the first and most obvious small talk question in the university setting."Philosophy," I would say, proudly (usually met by either a wide-eyed "Wooow" or a deeply perplexed "Whyyy?").However, each time I spoke, one of my old college friends would butt in and say, "Ano ka ba, gradweyt na 'yan!" (why? you've already graduated!)Oh, right, I would think to myself. Followed quickly by, wow - this feels so good!It's been almost a year since I officially graduated from college, and every now and then I forget that I have.When I was there it was a big deal, it felt like a huge achievement, and I suppose it was-they say in UP especially, it is hard to get in, but even harder to get out.But I was quickly sucked into the swirling, man-eating vortex called employment (for which I am nonetheless grateful), and my life has since been characterized by the preponderance of deadlines.The celebratory feeling of finishing school seems like a lifetime ago. And even though I wear better shoes now, the daily pressure, though on steroids, is qualitatively the same - working with an office full of nice, driven older people is like taking classes with nice, strict professors, except they can't be impressed if you read a chapter in advance. (Of course, as in college, there is never any time to read a chapter in advance anyway.)But there are a few things I've learned in the short time that I've been out of school. One is the importance of getting one's hands dirty.Too many young people find jobs after school, and then quit. A lot of times, it's because they find that "it's too hard." Of course, when we enter new jobs with zero experience, we start at the bottom of the food chain, and nobody wants to be at the bottom of the food chain. Our parents didn't slave away to put us through school just so we could be ordered around.I'm finding that there's value in being here, however. It's humbling, and everyone needs to be humbled by circumstances. I think this is the place where excellence is truly learned-when you might be "too good" for the kind of work that you are doing, but you work at it with all your heart anyway. This is where we learn the crucial lesson that a human being is more valuable than what he does for a living. And what better time to experience this than when you are young?This daily, almost imperceptible, chipping away at the rock is necessary for building character, for determining the kind of bosses, leaders, people we become. What a dangerous thing it would be if we all started on top! Imagine if we all started out barking out orders and making too much money. We would be a country run by tyrants and spoiled brats who don't know how to work hard or take criticism simply because we never had opportunity to learn.The other thing I'm learning is the value of the seemingly irrelevant. The other reason that young people quit is because "it's not really what I want to be doing." But who at 21 was doing what they wanted to be doing when they were 40?Some people figure out the long-term early in life, but the rest of us sort of just stumble upon it. I think we get there not by planning but by living. We value too little the opportunities that come with being exposed to things you would never consider. Such breadth of perspective and depth of understanding cannot be taught in classrooms, and cannot be had by living too focused on a single dream.Few of us admit how limited our vision and understanding of the world is when we're 21, and I think it's important for us to do the seemingly irrelevant things because these are the greatest opportunities for discovery. And I'm learning that there is so, so much to find out. 3 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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