My friends and I often have casual chats at the university café and cafeteria about random topics ranging from life, the future, jobs and wherever else the conversation leads us. Recently, I participated in a discussion conducted by a research company where they asked for insights from University seniors and recent graduates about our aspirations.
There were 7 of us in the group from the University of Colombo, Kelaniya, Jayewardenepaura and Moratuwa. The representative from the research company asked about our goals. Though I’ve known them for 3 years, this is the first time I heard them seriously talk about their ambitions and goals in life. Most of them have very lofty goals and objectives. We were asked to list important considerations for potential jobs. This is what we came up with.
• A friendly and multi-cultural working environment
• Competitive salary according to qualification with benefits
• Opportunities to travel
• Distance to the work place
• Challenging working environment
• Openness in sharing ideas
It was a small group and we are curious about what the entire population would say. However, I had a number of questions after the discussion. I think we can all agree that we have very high expectations and would like to live a comfortable life. However, are we qualified enough to make these demands or is it simply wishful thinking?
When I initially entered the University, I thought getting good grades and knowing English would be sufficient. However, it became clear that more was needed when we began fumbling through our interviews while looking for jobs. With the continuous increase in the competition for limited jobs, how we should best match our skills with our aspirations to realize our lofty goals?
I began asking myself, how can I stand out from others and best add value? These thoughts motivated me to learn new things, seize opportunities and continually challenge myself. I became involved in youth organizations and extracurricular activities to develop my interpersonal skills which have greatly increased my confidence and ability to engage with others.
From the discussion it was clear that my all of us came to the realization of the importance of balancing academic knowledge with other skills. Although marks are important, fostering analytical & critical thinking skills as well as being innovative will help us become more beneficial to society.