AFTER completing their studies, secondary school students should pursue tertiary education to develop their full potential.
Academic pursuit can develop mental faculties and postgraduate studies empower the scholar to be learned in a chosen field.
However, a learned person is not educated without displaying social skills and values.
These can only be acquired through training and practice.
To gain in-depth knowledge, we need to master a language as it is the key to learning.
This will enable us to think deeply, speak clearly and write logically.
Some of the essential social skills are being able to communicate, conceptualise, develop interpersonal relations, lead, multi-task, be self-disciplined and be a team player.
When the learning of social skills and values are treated merely as an academic exercise, the undergraduates would pick up only the barest minimum.
It is necessary for students to be exposed to others of different backgrounds, instead of just limiting themselves to a small circle of friends.
One of the most effective ways of learning social skills and values is to visit hospitals, hospices, prisons and drug rehabilitation centres and act as a conduit for inmates who wish to express their feelings to the loved ones at home.
Such efforts should not be viewed as a sacrifice.
It can be a very humbling and rewarding experience as they would learn to appreciate life better and respect people more.
Touching someone's life is certainly more meaningful than staging events just for the record books, which also serve no purpose other than for publicity.
If not constrained by time and money, fresh graduates should go through the "University of Life" by travelling locally or overseas as a backpacker before embarking on a career.
Employers prefer graduates who are street-wise and street smart.
No one has confidence in those who remain sheepish and can hardly express themselves, even though they may possess academic qualifications.
The main criteria in getting a job or progressing in a career are character, communications skill, general knowledge, job experience and academic qualification, in that order.
As such, it is important for young people to get a real education and not merely aim for academic qualification.
Their success in life and career is dependent on many other attributes.