7 mistakes (Almost) Every Indian Student Makes in his 20s.

This applies to all ITE, POLY and UNI students.  These are the common mistakes almost ALL  Indian students, regardless of their social status, educational background will make. As an ITE student, you may think that the your distant cousin who is studying in NUS belongs to a whole new community and your lives cannot be any more different. Let me remind you that we are simply traveling on different rivers that end up in the same sea.


1. Spending too much time on Indian Cultural Activities

Most of us are guilty of it. What makes it more strange is that most of us have successfully run away from ICS / TLS involvement in our Secondary School days. So, what has made the unattractive ICS involvement suddenly so attractive? I have a few theories on this. The disappearance of the irritating Tamil Teacher is one.  Secondary School ICS activities were conducted under the close supervision and direction of the teacher in charge. Sometimes, you get the feeling that most of the events and activities are done purely to meet the teacher's KPIs and make him/her look good to the school's management.

Tertiary ICS activities are usually left to students who, somehow, find a link between the ICS involvement and their own personal pride. Their batch must out-do the previous one and keep up with the tradition and cannot be the batch that screws it up. Most of them spend much of their precious time on organising variety shows for no real reason except for the fact the society has been doing so for the past X number of years.
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Don't get me wrong. I am a strong believer in our culture. Infact, I would make it compulsory for every Indian child to learn an Indian art form to ensure our culture lives on. But, there is a difference between being passionate towards the Indian Culture and spending too much time on ICS activities at the expense of other experiences.

2. Missing out on an overseas exchange programme 

The opportunities for this are available in most schools. They might be described differently. Make use of this opportunity to experience different cultures and places. For those of you who have strict parents, these official trips are the best ways to do it. Plus, they do stand out on your CVs. Most importantly, it will be a great eye-opener for you. If you are born and raised in Singapore, you are perfect example of Frog in the Well, who has his own comfort zones. Broaden your horizons and take your chances. There is literally a whole new world outside of Singapore.

3. Not Spending enough time with yourself
The Singaporean Education System / Mentality has sub-consciously taught us alot of things. Being Busy is one of those. Most of us make the mistake of loading up our calendars with stuff to make our days full. Where the Singapore culture is concerned, being busy is a good thing.  In fact, it is seen as good thing, a mark of a successful life. It gives us this false impression that we are making full use of life. We load our calendars with too many activities, events and courses without even asking ourselves what we want.

I see so many of my friends who studied a particular course for no reason and decide to make a mid-career switch. That switch is not open to all. Most of us may not be able to afford a mid-career switch realistically. Spend as much time with yourself, for yourself. Do not bow down to pressures from parents, friends and others. Listen to your heart. This may not happen immediately. Sometimes, we have shut our heart tightly that it needs to learn how to speak to you honestly. You only live once. Make it count.

4. Getting into a serious relationship
Most of us, myself included, used to think that if you do not find yourself a partner during school, you have missed the boat. The truth is that when you are in a relationship, regardless of how cool and accommodating your partner is, your choices in life will have to accommodate your partner. That is the truth. I do believe in love at first sight, fairytale romances etc etc.  I am no cynic when it comes to love. But I believe that true love is when your partner completes you. At that early 20s stage, you have to accept that you are a work in progress. You are changing as you grow up and you cannot expect the same partner to keep completing everytime you change.
I am not asking you be a 40 year old virgin. Go out there and date but draw a line when it comes to a serious commitment. Surely, you do not want to be short-changing yourself.

5. Disrespecting the vessel of life.
I decided to replace "vehicle" with "vessel"  so that No Malaysian Vlogger is going to lecture me.

Unless there is some medical miracle due to happen, I do not foresee this generation living long. The culture of alcohol / Tobacco  / drugs  has invaded this generation. 9 in 10 would have celebrated a birthday in a club. The whole culture of binge drinking is not going to change. 4 people to a chivas means an average 5.5 standard drinks. That alone would be enough to define binge drinking. Wait, we are not including the 1 bottle we topped up before clubbing and customary jagarbombs  and tequila shots. That, my friend is a normal night. If its a special occasion, you still have the flaming drinks coming your way.

Regretfully, smoking has become a social habit amongst so many people in their 20s. It has become the accompaniment (pickles) to alcoholic drinking.  Where drugs are concerned, its scary that so many educated white collar professionals are into it. Considering the severity of our drug laws, you might as well play Russian Roulette while you are at it.

What you need to know is that you have one body. The moment you start treating it with respect, there will be change.

6. Not Traveling Enough


By travel, I do not mean the 'Thanni' trips to Zon (JB) and Batam or  Party trips to Thailand etc. The world map is alot bigger than just South East Asia. I believe a backpacking trip to Europe when you are a student is a must do. Yes, Europe sounds expensive. Just set aside the money you would spend in a club for 6 months.  You need a stint like that to remind yourself that the world is your oyster, you are not limited by this small Country.

7. Ignoring Internship/ Apprentice Programmes

I have seen way too many of my Indian friends complain to me that they are unable to find a job and they are more inclined to use the 'race' card as probable cause. This world is a competitive one. This country is an extremely competitive one. The Corporate Culture is actually scary. You need to get yourself out there. I love reading success stories of entrepreneurs. One common factor among most of them is they did not wait for what life gave them. They went out and reached out to get what they wanted.

Internships and Apprentice Programmes are often ignored where Indians are concerned. Our hero believes that by virtue of his degree, some door should open for him. Recently I heard that  parents of Primary School Students are going for Primary School Tuition so as to be able to help their children on their home work. That is CRAZY!!!

Don't just restrict yourself to local internship opportunities. With Go(d)ogle on your side,  trust me, you have an entire world ahead of you. Take the Plunge!


[Ed Note: The above compilation is from my personal observation of my own life experiences and the experiences of the many people around me. Live your life to the fullest. Do not compromise. Live like a King! Die like a Legend!]

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