From School to University, My Success Story

Sep 16, 2012 by     Comments Off on From School to University, My Success Story    Posted under: Opinions

Ever since our school days, we have heard fables regarding college (university) life. Universities, we were told, would be fun-filled havens, places where we would have the opportunity to explore ourselves, where we would craft visions of who we wish to become, where we wouldn’t be bound by the syllabi of subjects (unlike our Ordinary and Advanced levels), and where we could let our imagination run riot. As I head into my second semester at NUST, I realise that I would be better off debunking this hefty collegiate stereotype, before I go back.

Entering college, the academic choices we make are mostly biased towards the education which will most likely deliver success and money, such is the aggregate mindset of our society. Because today, certain majors and degrees have more socio-economic value than others, and before you know it, everyone is an engineering or a business major. We have been told throughout our childhood that these particular college degrees and success go hand-in-hand. And we believed it, because deep down we all want to be successful. There’s a constant struggle and strive towards success.

Once in college, it’s this success we still keep running after. We set academic goals to get a perfect GPA and be the best among the class, and even the batch. I have seen some of my classmates at NUST come to college, do nothing but take down notes in classes, self-study in the library during breaks, and go home at the end of the day telling others how much they have yet to learn at home. The expectation is that once we have a degree which boasts an impressive GPA in our hand, we will finally reach our destination. Yet, there is so much more that makes up the success story.

I believe that success is overrated. Why? Because success, in its essence, is actually subjective. I define success as general self-fulfilment achieved by pursuing one’s own idea of happiness. Sadly, the stereotype surrounding success in our society conveys that it’s supposedly achieved by attaining riches and stature. And in trying to achieve this success, we forget about the finer pleasures in life. Friends, family, relationships and enjoyment; all become secondary. What we should primarily seek to gain in our lives is not success, but happiness and balance. Where’s the pleasure in getting good grades (or getting your first pay) if you don’t have any friends who demand a treat as soon as they hear about it?

Why have I droned on this long about success and happiness? Because, this is a notion I wish I had discovered earlier. All my life, I looked up to “successful” and wealthy people, dreamed of being one, and feared that I would fail to become one. It was ill advised, in my case, to chase success by pursuing an engineering degree. But, I fell into the trap. And I’m not the only one who did. Once I realised engineering might not be my thing, I panicked. I started fearing I wouldn’t be able to cope with the demands of an engineering major, and that at NUST, I would be a failure. The first semester finals came and went, and I don’t want to write about them here. But if I have learned one thing from the finals and from my first six months at college, it is that failure is never fatal. Failure is what teaches you some of your greatest lessons. With each lesson learnt and applied you will be drawn ever closer to the creation of a significant life.

As unemployment and competition inevitably rise, and the hardships of adulthood intensify, the only true way to hang in there is to stick to what you love. No matter how many books you crack and how many tests you ace, you may never know engineering the way you know how to write. The world needs writers, actors, social workers, and teachers. Damn the lists of ‘best college degrees by salary’! Imagine what this world will look like if everyone stopped living by lists and started doing what they love.

The Author

Ali Qamber is an engineering student at PNEC, NUST. He is a certified maila from St. Patricks High and lives, loves and wastes his time in Karachi. Besides writing useless stuff such as above, he also enjoys the finer things in a Karachiite's life, like night-cricket, hangouts at the beach and strikes. Find him on twitter (@qamberger) or facebook (saliqamber).

Click to view all posts from .

Comments are closed.

Your Voice Matters to Us

Send in your entries, ideas, thoughts, VLogs, Photologs and related to today.

Subscribe to us on

Youth Correspondent RSS
Youth Correspondent on Facebook
Youth Correspondent on Twitter
Youth Correspondent on Youtube