By: Diana Maricruz Pérez Santos
My school, the Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN: National Polytechnic Institute) has been facing a troubling scenario as of late: undergraduate students are demonstrating against a new set of rules enacted by the institution. Thousands of voices of protest reflect the discontent from students- raising awareness of the force and large magnitude of their demands. But are these actions really necessary? As a graduate student, I recognize the importance of quality education, as well as the reasons students should defend their rights.
It´s not easy, it’s not free
During undergraduate studies, one may buy into the idea that once finishing the uphill climb of obtaining a degree, you will become some great business professional with a successful career. Companies will fight over you and you will earn lots of money almost immediately with little to no effort. I agree in that it is a struggle to earn an academic degree, and it can improve one’s quality of life; however, there is no guarantee that this dream life is immediately achievable after college. Your ability to perform your work correctly and the way that you coexist with your coworkers during your professional career will determine the kind of professional success you experience. I want to emphasize that last part. Being the best student is not a guarantee of success if you cannot work well with others. As I wrote in my “Team work” post: for companies “nobody is irreplaceable”- I know this does not seem fair, but it’s reality.
Some of the most drastic changes in the new internal rules are that a student cannot take a semester off without a documented illness, and if a student fails a class without improving in two semesters, they will be dismissed from school. The students also say that the new study plan will produce professionals with lower quality due to a reduction of subjects, but I did not see this point in the new rules. Personally, I think that these new rules will evolve with practice because the board of directors will have to consider individual cases when enforcing them. These new rules are no stricter than reality- students are now just being held more accountable.
Choose the life you really want
This week, the story of one of the best researchers in the country (from IPN) made me reflect on this topic. He returned to Mexico after finishing his PhD at Stanford, but he did not find a job right away. At the time, the necessary technology was not in the country. He worked on all types of projects until he was able to introduce this technology to the country. Now, he researches in that field which is his passion, but he had to fight to get there.
My point here is that things can always look bad; we can think that everyone acts against us… We must fight for what we want, and the only way is to work hard for it. I am glad that the student community is demanding a better education. Those who are concerned about their education will do anything to get to get the best one possible. But remember- a college degree is only a pass for better opportunities if you seize them.
Cover image: facebook.com