Breaking stereotypes- quitting job for a master’s at 31

Am I glad I quit? A resounding yes, I am deeply grateful for the opportunities that have come my way to push me to become a better version of myself.
The famed Dubai skyline.

Was I stupid to quit at a peak?

So, what do you do when you have been a country-hopping expat, away from family, put in the hard work for eight years, grabbed that promotion you thought you deserved for two long years, waiting to tee off your career and start living your life in one of the most happening multinational companies? What do you do when a mega change event of the century, a vicious pandemic, shakes you from within, giving you a clarion call to slow down and gauge what is it that you are chasing in life? How do you navigate the inevitable corporate politics to secure your individuality? What takes priority – Family or Profession, does everybody have the luxury of a middle ground? What if you are completely uncertain of your financial stability? I Quit.

Was I stupid to quit at a peak? No one is proven; even if proven, it is a lesson learnt for a lifetime! Was I brave that I quit? I am not aware! Am I glad I quit? A resounding yes, I am deeply grateful for the opportunities that have come my way to push me to become a better version of myself.

Oulun Yliopisto, where destinies meet

During my sabbatical, on a random day, during a random internet search, I bumped into a webpage describing the “Arctic Attitude” at the University of Oulu, and the course of Product and Project Management, under the faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management. Something about the course description resonated within me; everything I had done through my work experience fell into perspective.

Spurred, I gathered the courage to pursue my long lost desire to pursue my master’s degree. Every step I took later towards this newfound goal, be it my application, my admissions, my student visa, felt like I was doing something meaningful again in my life. My master’s degree venture is only a few weeks old, and I still have a long way ahead, with bumpy highs and lows. Is my future still uncertain? Yes, definitely, whose is not!

Cape Town, a view of Camps Bay.

Does this amount to breaking stereotypes? Yes, referring to my immediate circle of reference. To lend perspective, I hail from a conventional middle-class background where there is always the norm to conform to societal expectations. The peer pressure is such that one would typically complete their bachelor’s by the age of 22, preferably an engineering degree, complete a master’s degree by 24-25, earn a lower to middle management job by 26.

By the age of 27-28, they are enlisted in a matrimonial website to finalise on a future marital partner based on a multitude list of filters such as – age, religion, caste, salary package, visa status, job stability, height, weight, skin colour to say the least (using technology to reinforce dated belief systems, very advanced!).

Marriage then is a gala event, where friends and relatives from both sides, some of whom the couple would not have met in their lifetimes, throng for a big photo-op and free food. A huge chunk of life savings is spent on the event, and all of it is attempted to be done before the dreaded age limit of 30.

I believe I am one of those anomalies of my society; my best of friends finished their master’s a decade back, are now happily married with kids, and here I am just starting at 31.

Kiitos! :)

About the author

Seshnag Revuru from India is studying Product and Project Management at the University of Oulu. He is experiencing a sub-zero arctic climate for the first time. Fun fact – he has an extra thumb and speaks four languages!