Friday, February 10, 2006

Interesting Argument

Yesterday, while coming from class I met my friend, who for the sake of privacy I will call, E. The class itself was a boring one. E was standing outside the local Burger King. Turns out he also had'nt eaten lunch yet. So we both ate a Chicken Sandwich. Me and E are in the same Software Architectures class. We had time to kill before the class began and E took me along, to meet another Pakistani friend of his at the University. Being woefully few in number, the Pakistani students at USC are a close knit bunch. So I's gesture to take me along and break the ice with another Pakistani was welcome and appreciated. It turns out the ice was kind of hard to break.

The other friend who we will call S, was studying in the library where we went to meet him. Turned out he was the same age as me. Now I and him are good friends and they started talking about stuff while I am sitting there awkwardly. E is nice enough to get me into the conversation but it is proving difficult since S, seems oblivious to my presence. Maybe S wasn't taught proper etiquittes but that is perfectly ok. I didn't mind that much. When he did talk it was to argue with me from the get go.

Some of the arugments he put forth are these:

1. Most people come to the US from Pakistan to work and since it is easier to apply from the US than Pakistan, they come here on a student VISA, do their MS and then work. Now, I agreed with him on the "easier to apply from the US for a US job than from Pakistan", but the coming here as a grad student to work is stupid to say the least. Why would someone pay 60k+ Dollars to come here so that down the line, 2 years from now, he or she can work based on the completion of their MS. That would be a pretty big investment just to find a job from the US in US. I asked him if he had brothers here and he says yes. So what was the problem then. I could see he was getting uncomfortable now, so I decided to let him off the hook.

2. The second was his assault on my choice of why I had not chosen to work after I had graduated from the US and applied for MS. Shouldn't my choice be my own and who is this stranger to ask me anyway? To say the least, I felt insulted. I told him not everyone is so crazy to work as you are, after their Bachelors, especially coming to the US to do your MS from a 60k+ annual tution Uni. Good that I got him back because there were loopholes developing in his logic and he was starting to contradict himself.

3. He was of the view an MS degree doesn't do anything for your job search or during your job. It is just a degree many companies ignore. Now, that was a shocker, ladies and gents! So, we can safely assume, S came to the US to study in a 60k+ Uni to find only land a job. I asked him this, and he slowly said yes, visibly unsure how to answer his own logic. He wouldn't believe me when I said that an MS degree will help you overcome the glass ceiling your definately going to get somewhere, sometime in your career.

In the end, when people argue just for the sake of an argument, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth and you tend to think. Why even bother aruguing when you don't even have a simple valid argument to your credit? It only makes you look like a fool, in my honest opinion. Too bad the ice didn't break and I didn't like S much. Maybe a second meeting would clarify things.
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