What’s Your University Major?



So many people graduate from universities and the first thing they do is look for a job that fits exactly what they have spent 4 or more years studying. How realistic is that?

Some of the most important courses in a university are those known as ‘core courses’, which are typically the classes we take to satisfy the school’s requirement. Some would call them tax courses, the ones that have no relationship with our academic majors. However, the way I see them, they’re very important courses that perhaps we may use them the most during our professional career after graduation.

Guess what, only around 27% of students actually end up in jobs related to their school majors, according to some surveys. This means that we all have a probability of 1:3 in working in places that would allow us practice what we have learned in school. This also means that we need to be ready to adjust our lives in learning while working.

But in some ways I actually do object. I believe that we can always find ways in any job we undertake to practice what we have learned in school. More than that, while growing up after the age of 22, we start prioritizing our lives more and emotionally associating ourselves to trends and phenomenon that drive us to levels of motivations we didn’t think of before. Unless a person spent years studying something very specific like Electrical Engineering, if you’re a social science major (Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, etc) or any of the business majors, there is always room in any job you take to use your skills.

I personally never saw myself in the shoes I fill right now, working in the public and private sector for an annual world-class sports event in the Kingdom of Bahrain. This is pure sports, but what does it have to do with Political Science? I have done an interview recently at Slowtwitch, the most famous triathlon forums today. Have a read first and then let me continue later.

“ST: Can we talk about politics a little? Not my normal topic.

Saqer Al Khalifa: No problem.

ST: I, like a lot of us in the Western world, were excited by the Arab Spring and the notion that democracy had found a foothold in the Middle East. I still am, in a primal sense, on the side of the underdog who rises up against what feels to him like tyranny. But I’m not seeing a lot of Switzerlands popping up where the Arab Spring has been most ardent; in fact, the West’s posture toward Syria is in flux; is Bashar al-Assad our functional ally against ISIS? It’s crazy. I don’t want to put words in your mouth so I’ll just stop and let you respond.

Saqer Al Khalifa: I’m a political scientist. A lot of political scientists would agree with me, but the analysts and politicians who are not political scientists, most of them jumped the gun. You can’t make decisions about peoples’ lives this fast. It was a very oversimplified view of the situation. There’s a misperception in the West the way Arabs and tribalism works. Different systems constrain different politicians. Every place [in the Arab world] the West exercised its influence to make a change in government is in total chaos today. The only places that are not in chaos were those that absorbed – amid criticism – the pressure by being smart. The smartest thing to do is to acknowledge that you are limited in your resources. You have a wish list, on top of which is to have an approval rate by the majority of your population, whether a democracy, a monarchy, or a constitutional monarchy. Triathlon is just one little thing we can do to bring to the streets of Bahrain a healthy lifestyle, social development, the unity among the population, the rich and the poor coming together in a triathlon waiting at the finish line. There isn’t a financial profit for us with this race. The true profit is social development, unity among the population, to level the social gaps, rich and the poor both coming across the finish line.

ST: So, you’re telling me that instead of this being a tourism effort, bringing Germans and Englishmen to Bahrain to spend tourism dollars, your vision is social leveling on the starting line?

Saqer Al Khalifa: We go to Mecca every year. All Muslims go there. The rich and the poor wear the same thing, you can’t tell them apart. Why can’t we do that here, in triathlon? A Mecca in triathlon. Everybody looking the same when in their wetsuits. Bahrainis, even expats, get half off the entry, and His Highness’s foundation, any person in Bahraini who can’t pay to enter, it’ll sponsor his entry. We put $50,000 of the prize purse just for Bahraini citizens. The first beneficiaries of the triathlon will be the citizens of this country and the citizens of the GCC [Gulf Cooperative Council]. Yes, we hope for tourism, but this also circles back to the locals. Triathlon checks every single box, but the most important box is social development. You will never achieve what you want by force, you will never achieve what you want with an air force. You can achieve more by making people like you than by making people fear you. With triathlon you connect with people emotionally, with quality. I’m 15 minutes late for an appointment, but I cannot stop talking about this. I was disappointed when we were talking to Ironman, they couldn’t see this. Challenge said we don’t want to sell our rights to you, we want to be a part of what you do. This guy, Felix [Walchshöfer, head of Challenge], today he’s the most important person in triathlon. He’s the person everyone should look to. I love the guy. He came to Bahrain, went everywhere, was captivated by the art, the history of Bahrain, the local market, very good listener, doesn’t push his ideas on you, he’s a guy you can trust.”

As you can see here, I have found in what I do something that works directly with my years of work. This is a driving force for my performance because it makes me believe first and foremost that the best political took for success is to be original in providing for your people. The fruits of success would come later, in forms of smiles and personal satisfaction first, and unity and stability second.

Never give up believing, always find that window of opportunity, and try to align your heart and mind so the perfect formula would surface.

Categories: Bahrain, Politics, Social

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