Deciding to step away from one path or way of life is no reason for panic as another magically appears even before one realizes. So when one leaves the tarred road, a meandering path through meadows or forests may appear… maybe there will be a walk along a gently flowing river. This is what gives form to varying experiences and they, in turn, help one understand the myriad options that life is forever ready to offer. However, this happens more often when one is willing to step away.
The subtle art of stepping away is probably a different way of looking for more options and is all about a willingness to explore with an open mind. Those who travel are diving into this art every now and then. I must admit though that even without knowing we are all stepping away all the time… but do this consciously and with some degree of thought and deliberation and you will know why I have used the word subtle here.
This concept is valid all over… even in politics. It is, for instance, time for the Sarkar at the Centre to step away from any policy that pulls people apart. The same logic is equally valid for even those who hang the Sarkar upside-down on the social media all the time. Sometimes this revolutionary movement is spurred on by new sets of laws and regulations and the most appropriate example is the recent increase in penalties for traffic violations. A rather heavy nudge from the government regulatory authorities is finally making the ordinary and the not-so-ordinary driver on the streets realize that all old practices of traffic-bulldozing are over. Stepping away is the new art to embrace.
Stepping away is what even students need to understand… and one of the things they must know is that a blind rush into the future isn’t lucrative any more. Step away from half-baked hearsay about courses and colleges. Step away from sales messages flooding your sensibilities in the on- and off-line world. Step away from agents and touts who push whatever caters to their interest. Step away from the pretenders in the world of education. What then is the right course of action?
Quite obviously, the first step is to step away and then step into the untamed and unexplored domain of research. Whenever I have conversed with successful students, the two things they all did besides stepping away from the usual included a thorough information search about all appropriate courses as well as places that offer those courses. Their second step was to prepare extensive excel sheets of rankings of departments and colleges/ universities/ institutes. They explained that sometimes it is the ranking of the department with its well-known faculty that scores over the rank of the university. After all, it is the subject expertise that one wants most. The employment quotient can be higher in this case. Well, there are other facets that are equally vital and may include the stocking of the library, the presence of industry-preferred and industry-experienced faculty, the way the alumni network has evolved, and the current state of the placements section there. In short, it is a thorough research that matters.
No one today can afford to overlook the advantages of a deeper inquest into the appropriateness of one’s actions. However, what is equally true is that an inquest is possible only after a person has realized the importance of stepping away from what pretends to be what everyone has been doing for ages. Past precedence is no longer the winner…
First published in The Education Post – November 2019 issue – Editorial
Written on 13 November 2019