Congratulations to the all the graduates of the Class of 2015.
All these past years, I trust you have worked hard and have gained knowledge, skills and competencies – the wealth of your life. However, this is not the end of the story, but rather the beginning of a more interesting and challenging journey, a journey into the wider world with a lot more to learn.
NIST has prepared you with distinctive knowledge in various fields, which a person needs to experience in order to rest assured that they can get through challenges. Your part now is to figure out what you are skilled at and keen on. It would be fortunate if you could live your lives in the field that you are skilled in and at the same time enjoy.
However, much as NIST prepared you with a variety of acumen, this was only the surface, only a glimpse of the real world. It is still necessary for you to explore each field deeper by yourself. I find that studying liberal arts or fundamental courses, which are offered in prominent universities nowadays, enable you to learn more about your true self. You will be equipped with a wider perspective for more accurate decisions in the choice of your further education to suit your attained skills and your liking.
Most importantly, before all else, you need that set the ground rule that what you choose to excel in should be the one that you can pursue as your career. Bear in mind that we all need to earn a living for ourselves and for our families. Undoubtedly, we can possess more than one competency or skill. But when it comes to your choice of career, I urge you to considering choosing to excel at the skill that complements your career for a living.
Let me give you some examples, comparing two students. One is a skillful golfer and enjoys it enough to hang on to it and keep practicing, and the other has aimed from a very young age to become a diplomat. In such a case you need to seriously think through if you would like pursue golf professionally – and which level of excellence you would need to attain – not just “can do” and “really enjoy”. However, the one who would like to be a diplomat can acquire the the necessary skills to stand a better chance to pursue a career in what he or she enjoys.
One more example is for those who are fond of history or archaeology. If you meticulously study, you can pursue a career as a university professor and researcher in the field, whereas your friends who enjoy the nature of the hotelier profession will find it easier to receive jobs with a reasonably good earning. The fields of banking, as well as business administration, also have more jobs offered. Accordingly, when it comes to the time that you need to choose your field of study, you should consider cautiously first in terms of the job opportunities that are not beyond your potential, and second your passion.
Some people love classical music and practice until they excel at it. Fortunately, they come from affluent families. It would not be much of much concern for them to earn a living, and they can therefore take it as a career. At the same time, some people enjoy playing an instrument, but are not competent enough to reach the professional level. They can opt for academic study in a field that they are skilled in and also get pleasure from in order to have career support. However, they could still play an instrument as a hobby and find a work and life balance.
Without further ado, I would urge you from now on to search for yourself in the field that you are certain that you are skilled in and also enjoy, while being assured that there are job opportunities in that field for you to earn a living. Listen to your inner self and what you truly like; you have the potential to acquire more skills to enter gracefully into available careers.
In the end, though you might find that what you really enjoy and excel in does not match the field of study that you have selected, it is not the end of the world. There is always room and time for you to make a change.
MR Pridiyathorn Devakula
Deputy Prime Minister & Chairman of the NIST International School Foundation