TERTIARY level students, especially those in their final year, are a step away from graduation and have one foot in the working world. I must admit that the working world is different and demanding, to say the least. The books we read and study in university may prep students to a certain level but real life experiences and on the job learning are factors that make the difference.

Students need to be aware that the demands and realities of the working world, regardless of the type of industry, are different from a university setting, that is likened to a comfort zone. There is support from the management, lecturers and classmates. All these will disappear the moment one steps into the working arena.

Most graduates will end up working for companies in various industries. The corporate world can at times be ruthless and students need to be prepared for these realities. They may be thrown into the deep end with minimal guidance and may sink or float, depending on their performance.

We are all aware of the Key Performance Indexes, or KPI, which are a determinant of performance, and in some sense replaces the grading rubrics that students are well exposed to during their academic years. Hence, students must be ready to face challenges.

I have noticed a trend where some students feel they have a sense of entitlement, and expect to be spoon-fed. Make no mistake, guidance is what it is and being spoon-fed is another. There are also students who claim they only want to obtain a degree and to get on with life.

What is important is for students to learn, understand and apply not only textbook knowledge but also industrial experiences that was shared by the lecturer.

Attitude towards learning has changed over the years. What used to be attentiveness and dedication has now morphed into a couldn’t care less attitude towards attendance, assignments and lectures. Let us not even talk about tardiness, skipping classes and disappearing from online classes despite their status showing that they are online. I reiterate that not all students have such a lackadaisical attitude. There are still rare gems who care.

Nevertheless, this does not mean lecturers and tutors have given up. It is our duty as educators to not only share knowledge and teach, but to instil, and inculcate good values and attitudes in students. This responsibility is shared across all who uphold the duty to educate, teach, guide and tutor.

Every educator only has the best intentions for their students. Education is a learning curve, and we learn from each other. Students learn from lecturers and vice versa. This makes us better, as we are all working towards a common objective of upholding the values of respect, humility, care and kindness, which are the pillars of nation building, that will contribute to a better Malaysia.

Yeap Ming Liong