Monday, September 21, 2020

The Past Is Gone, The Future Is Bright

A cloud of uncertainty looms ahead. We don't quite know what next month (or even next week) looks like. Plans become redundant as soon you prepare them.

For me, the university semester is about to restart in a few weeks, but no one really knows whether to what extent classes will be conducted virtually or live.

Many people are still stuck with 'temporary' pay-cuts with no clear deadline when their original pay-checks will return

This leaves us clinging onto the desperate hope that things will get better in no time, so we just have to buckle down, take a break, and wait for the storm to pass. That's natural, but naive.

The cold hard reality is that some things will be never be the same again. The sooner you let go of the past, the faster you'll get adapt to the new future.

* * *

I'll speak about education, because that's where I'm most familiar with. But a lot of things that I say should resonate to many of you, wherever you are. I'm just running through examples anyway, and not launching into a critical analysis of the educational system.

First, let's start with the obvious. Students in rural towns have bad Internet connectivity. Virtual classes just aren't as effective as the real thing. Continuous assessment will dilute the value of grades.

If you're just hanging on the thin thread that's given to you, you'll definitely fall behind. You will graduate into a depressed job market. Got a First-Class? Sorry, if I'm in the shoes of an employer, I will treat any applicant from your cohort with a quantum of doubt. It's not you, it's just the terrible hand you're dealt. The pandemic has robbed you of a proper education. Sucks to be you, but you can't count on employers drowning in their own 101 problems to give you a free pass.

Similarly, for those already in employment, it's matter of swim or sink. There's less work coming in, hence less chance to prove yourself. Competition between co-workers will only be more cut-throat. It's harder to be 'visible' when you're virtual.

* * *

So are we doomed to mediocrity? Of course not!

When life gets tough, that's when you need to toughen up even more. Not shrink like a daisy.

Take up internships. Indulge in more extra-curricular activities. Be a research assistant.

Look out for more opportunities! Do something more! Explore!

Sadly, that's not what I'm seeing in most students. Instead, the sense I get is defeat. Despair. Doom.

Look, I totally understand that most internships and extra-curricular activities have also gone 'virtual' - and they're not as good as the 'real' thing. But so what? What other better alternatives are there? You can't wait out a storm that shows no sign of stopping. What if the pandemic continues for 2-3 more years? Are you going to continue hibernating at home?

* * *

The good news is that not all students are shrinking daisies.

Some brave ones are truly forging forward to unchartered territories with a great sense of adventurism. Things don't always go well for them, of course. But even if they're stumbling in the dark, they're still moving forward and getting ahead of lazy buggers hiding in their basement.

Ultimately, fortune favours the brave. You can't get lucky if you don't even roll the dice. You can't complain about bad luck if you never even try to take charge of your destiny.

There's a storm coming, people. The sooner you pack up and run for the hills, the better chance you'll have in escaping into the different but brighter future that lies ahead.

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