Does the name really matter?

A couple of weeks ago I met a girl who is studying at Oxford University. She also happens to be the same age as I am. What really struck me about her right away was her ability to get along so well with everyone in the room. Being a rather quiet person myself, I admire this trait in people; to be able to adapt so well to any situation. I appreciated her confidence, and friendliness. However that friendly manner didn’t last for long, especially when I became the microbe under her set of lens.

Right from the onset of our conversation I could see her evaluating me, carefully watching my every move. Since girls tend to do this when they first meet one another, I didn’t take much notice of it and carried on talking, trying to keep up the flow of conversation.

All was good until the subject drifted to that of our respective universities. I knew she was studying at Oxford and for lack of anything else to talk about, asked how she got in. It was a simple question, put out of curiosity and admiration of her achievements. The last thing I wanted was to make her feel confronted. However, that’s exactly how she took it. Her entire behaviour towards me suddenly changed, as though she were challenging me to somehow prove otherwise- I decided to overlook it-not long after though, realising I wasn’t studying in Harvard, Cambridge or even Oxford for that matter, she seemed to undermine me. Her way of conversing with me changed as though she thought I was incapable of following her through. Or that my intellectual capabilities didn’t quite match up to hers. Throughout the evening I could feel her eyes on me every time I said something or added anything to the group conversation we were having.  Calculating every response I gave, judging me, slowly matching me up against a list she had laid out in her head.

Though very pleasant and formal on the exterior, I could tell her behaviour towards me had changed and that she no longer liked me. I began to analyse myself, wondering whether I had said something to upset her. But after backtracking through the entire evenings events, it finally hit me. Somewhere along the line of our conversation she had decided that I fell way beyond her standards, and my ability to portray myself didn’t add up to hers. This was solely because I happen to be studying at a good university, instead of studying at the very best one with the crème de la crème; way up top where she is.

Realising this disappointed and annoyed me. These day’s people seem to judge your intellectual abilities and mind-set based on the organisation you studied at, be it at college or university level. We also seem to mentally rate a person based on the job they have or the particular company they work for and the level of their responsibilities within that company. People seem to favour you based on this very fact. The ‘name’ matters, whether you match up to the set standards of the place or not. For example a person studying at Cambridge may be a rubbish speaker and completely inept at dealing with people where as a person studying at Imperial may be extremely eloquent and able to portray themselves with excellence when put in any situation. However many people seem to overlook this and will favour the Cambridge student, assuming them better and smarter than the student from Imperial.

a person studying at Cambridge may be a rubbish speaker and completely inept at dealing with people where as a person studying at Imperial may be able to portray themselves with excellence when put in any situation.

a person studying at Cambridge may be a rubbish speaker and completely inept at dealing with people where as a person studying at Imperial may be able to portray themselves with excellence when put in any situation.

When I first started college, I went through many such incidents where I was undermined and thought less of, simply because I went to a less popular college. The person in question would come up and ask me where I had gotten admission. After hearing my answering, I would be looked upon with a mixture of disdain and pity, followed by the question, “Didn’t you study hard enough in school?” This troubled me immensely. I always felt the need to justify myself; explaining why I wasn’t going to the best college in town, since it was over an hour away from my house and extremely inconvenient and I had a just as good college down the road. But no, the aunties didn’t get this. They always loved hammering home the fact that their daughter got into that “best college”, trying to imply the fact that I wasn’t good enough for it despite my having better grades than their daughters.

However, the irony of the situation three years later is this; all my friends and class mates who ended up at the said “best college” in town, once there, no longer felt the need to study any more since they were already as high up as they could be. This ultimately led them to early engagements and now most of them are: a) already married, straight out of college without a university degree or b) engaged, no longer interested in studying but sucking it up at the same college trying to get through some useless degree just to please their parents.

I on the other hand, despite being at an average college for two years had to work hard which has ultimately benefited me in the long run.

I’m sure many of you can relate to this situation, if not something similar. The institution you study at should not define who you are. This is not a big enough or valid enough reason to demean someone or make them feel somehow inferior. Stereotypes such as these will only cause a person to develop an unnecessary complex which cannot be justified.

In the long run employers may not even ask for the name of your university. What matters to them foremost is the way in which you come across to them as a person, your ability to converse well and handle a situation as well as the level of your degree. A person having a first class honours from Brunel University may be preferred over a third class degree holder from Oxford.

Another important point people fail to consider, is the rank of the department or school within the university. For example the math department at Imperial is just as good, if not better, than the math department at Oxford and is often preferred by students as it saves travel time, hence proving to be an advantage in the long run.

What matters most is studying something which you have a knack for, and are happy at doing. These three or four years will pass by in a whiz and years later down the line, all we will have left is memories.

Be your own boss!

As I ran across the crowded shopping mall, heavy laptop in hand with my bag swung over one shoulder, I couldn’t help but laugh at the stupidity of my situation. I was running “errand boy duty” yet again!-My point here is not to demean any person who makes a living out of running errands, neither do I intend to look down on such people. Rather it is just a jab at the sheer inconvenience one person’s forgetfulness can cause.

Earlier that day my boss came to give us a pep talk and deliver some flash drives. While working with us, he forgot his laptop on my desk. Being so completely absorbed in my work, I had absolutely no idea and didn’t even turn around to check when he left, until my phone rang an hour later and he asked whether I would be kind enough to meet him halfway and bring his laptop to the station as he’d forgotten it on my desk, and was running late. Since I didn’t have much of a choice and was just about to take a break anyway, I decided to do my good deed for the day. But as I rushed through the throngs of tourists and shoppers, I was certain of how comical I must have looked, for almost every person I passed gave me an odd stare followed by an amused smile. Yes the laptop was heavy, one of those old Toshiba models, and it weighed a lot more than I was comfortable carrying.

This is hilarious,yet very true!

This is hilarious,yet very true!

This little event from that day, added another strike to the list I have laid out in my head, which slowly seems to be getting larger as my employment period comes to an end.
No matter how large the organisation you work for may be, you will be made to run errands at least once. This is mandatory. The said errand, will also be at a most inconvenient time, making you frustrated at people and their ridiculousness.

I understand now why people choose to set up their own businesses. Despite how decent and good your boss maybe, or however great the work place, the perks of working for yourself and making your own rules certainly out way those of working for someone else. At least in my book.
Apart from this, over time, you gradually become tired of following orders. Orders, which are sometimes completely out of your line of work. For example, an engineer may be forced to do a secretary’s job and admin work at the same time, for lack of staff and funds to pay for more employees. Saying that, some people don’t seem to mind, and actually find it more comfortable to follow a set of instructions provided by another-in simpler terms they like being told what to do.
I suppose it has more to do with each person’s personality. Certain people find it hard to make a decision. They like being told when and what to do, and work best once given a set of instructions which they follow through to the utmost precision. Others find it harder to follow instructions and must have things done their own way according to their own preferences. They crave responsibility and must be at the forefront of all decision-making.

Though there are advantages about working for someone else, and running your own business is extremely tough at times, it does pays off in the long run. Initially the long hours and amount of work it takes to set up can often seem like a huge draw back or a bad move, but once the business is up and running, good times do follow.

How many of us can relate to this!

How many of us can relate to this!

Looking at it from a general perspective, recession and figures aside; in an ideal world, a large proportion of us would rather be our own bosses. Human’s tend to like being in charge. It is a part of our nature, to crave power and leadership. But the world isn’t perfect and the lack of appropriate funding, and resources have us all chained up within the frustrating world of jobs and their silliness. At least for now…

Oh Those Dreadful Rejections!

I’m sure every single one of us has faced a rejection in some form or other, be it between choosing a college or university of our choice, a job application or even proposing to your dream partner out there. Rejection in any shape, way or form is painful and it SUCKS!

So I was lounging around the other day, mourning yet another one of those summer job application turn downs when I heard the lyrics of “Down” by Jay Sean playing in a car parked outside my bed room window. The line that struck me most, was

“…indefinitely, not probably, and honestly I’m down like the economy!..”

I'm sure this is exactly how i will be by the time graduation comes along!

I’m sure this is exactly how i will be by the time graduation comes along!

Isn’t it ironic how those lyrics fit perfectly with our current status?

In general, the world as a whole is facing a continuous decline in the economy which has led to the youth feeling somewhat depressed and dejected. Jobs are now as scares as water is in the desert, and WHEN and IF you do happen to stumble upon a good company who’s recruiting new employees, the post is filled before you even get the chance of tailoring your C.V and filling in the complete application form.

The most comical part of the whole scenario is the very way in which these companies reject you. Generally they have a tendency to start off by apologizing, expressing their commiseration over how THEY “decided” to turn down your application because It supposedly didn’t fit in with their current  needs as yet. Personally I think they owe us a more personalised and heartfelt apology letter  at least for the very fact that they took up two hours of your life,not only making you give up  all your personal details including your complete history up to date, but also writing a hundred words ( if not more) each about why you chose the particular company, your hobbies, drives and motivation etc..-Point to be noted,all of your data is supposedly kept safe,it is a part of the “Data Protection Act” and is only kept in the company’s data base as long as needed-Oh and how can I forget the dreadful surveys!

And then if that’s not bad enough, they have the audacity to tell us to keep trying elsewhere and that they will “consider us” again( this almost usually never happens)  as soon as a new post opens up while kindly informing us that we are not to make another application for the next 6 months! For all the nerve! Sometimes I wish I had taken a law degree instead, it would be so satisfying to sue a company for being biased, though I obviously know that is not the case-by hey I can dream!

Sometimes I wonder if a point will come in the future when we will all have to resort to the “Barter system” of trade like our ancestors did. With such scarcity of jobs, money will soon become a thing of the past. Maybe it will be entertaining to go to market places and trade your old stuff for newer more modern things. At least it will sort out the problem of filling in those pesky job applications only to be rejected so sweetly yet again!

Here’s an article outlining all the statistics of employment over the years in the United Kingdom, quite discouraging to be honest but the best I can hope for is that the figures of employed graduates will slowly rise by the time my turn comes alone! Take a look :

DESTINATIONS OF LEAVERS FROM HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM FOR THE ACADEMIC YEAR 2009/10