Getting through campus placements

Getting through campus placements

Getting through campus placements

The placement season will soon be starting for students in the final year of college, across most academic institutions (particularly in engineering) all over the country.

Here is where your time spent at college comes a full circle — all that you have learnt and left out, your strengths and weaknesses, topics that catch your interest, and subjects you detest. The forty odd examinations you would have appeared for over the last few years fade in comparison with the significance of a half hour job interview.

Campus interviews and walk-ins, multi-national companies, public sector exams, start-ups, white-collar and field work, technical versus managerial, core versus IT, domestic versus international — the air feels thick with these terms being thrown about all the time. Getting a good job through campus placements is considered to be a matter of prestige among peers, and marks the beginning of the golden phase of life with financial independence and endless possibilities. However, there are two general occurrences during this time of the academic year, that are not conducive for students, and can be avoided.

  • One is the tension that prevails among students. Some see their classmates getting placed, while encountering repeated failures themselves. It would be unfair to say that this shouldn’t stress them out. It is unlikely that they might have failed in any exam a large number of times before this. It is not easy for people who have lived all their lives thinking of themselves as reasonably bright, to not just fall behind, but also get rejected. The stress reaches pandemic proportions, it is truly contagious, and could start taking a toll on their health.

 

  • Another thing is that the academics of students takes a beating. The campus interview schedules start interfering with the academic routine in the institution. But, more importantly, the placement preparation, the stress, and the disappointment that follows after not getting through a company start to affect them greatly.


For an institution, this is an undesirable phenomenon in the long run. Becoming known as a job shop where academics can be taken lightly may have students flocking to its doors. But in the long run, it may deal a deadly blow to its possibility of building a reputation of a chosen place for higher learning. Earlier, the notion of campus interviews was rare. Being part of a renowned academic institution was reason enough for students to feel proud, and consider it their duty to study well so as to justify the tacit trust put in them by the society. Getting a job was a bonus, but wasn’t on the main wish list.

However, things have changed since. The relation between the institution and the student is much more transactional and business-like than before. Many of them take student loans to seek admission. So, they are in some way justified in considering landing a good job as their topmost priority, at least to repay their loans if not for anything else.

The immense rise in the awareness level of students regarding the topmost jobs of the world has caused an unprecedented rise in their expectations. Even if they did opt for something other than the conventional, (read ‘less’), they would do so either grudgingly or with a touch of remorse and discontent. Further, the pride of belonging to a renowned place is subdued, because they are painfully aware of better places (mostly outside the country) where their friends and classmates may be studying.

This side-effect of increased awareness is undesirable and should be dealt with maturity. It’s good to aim high, but one should work meticulously towards their goals. Merely yearning for something is a prescription for suffering. Here are some suggestions for students that will help them get through this process with lesser hurdles:


Aim high, but be realistic
There’s no need to base your self-worth on your CGPA, your compensation, and the reputation of the company that hires you. Companies have specific needs. Being hired by a big and famous company is no indication of your worth as a professional, much less as a person.

Work towards your goal, don’t merely want it. Understand your strengths. You may be a good designer or a coder, a hacker or a tester. You may have the right skills for sales and marketing, or for being a business analyst. Hone your strengths. Learn to improve your weaknesses. And very importantly, look for profiles that align with your strengths. This criterion should take precedence over the size, the so-called reputation, or the pay package offered by the hiring company.

Don’t lose focus
Don’t ignore your academics. They are what you are here for. If you are in a good institution, missing out on its main opportunities of learning (through interaction with learned professors, bright peers, well-equipped labs and facilities) to cram word lists, canned programming questions etc. is a bad idea indeed. Strengthen your fundamentals. You’ll see that the confidence you get from this strong foundation will help you in the coming years.

Take it easy
It’s probably your first job, not your final. So, why take the whole thing so seriously? There are various ways people do well in their lives. Many ways of succeeding can’t be measured by any metric of money, fame, recognition. Try to develop a broad-minded attitude towards your life. It will help you in taking a more detached view of such episodes.

The big picture
Imagine yourself five or ten years down the line. You would have grown much, and gone through all that you probably don’t anticipate right now. You will then look back at these times and realise that you stressed yourself out for no reason at all. Of course, you will get a reasonably good job with which you would be somewhat happy. But there’s always going to be something better to aspire for. Going ahead, the job will not be about your feeling happy, proud or satisfied about getting it, but about how you contribute, learn and grow in it. And of course, it should be good enough for you to lead a comfortable life while paying your bills and loans. So, relax a bit. Enjoy the experience. And do not
ignore your studies!

(The author is  assistant professor,IIIT, Bengaluru)

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