Are you enjoying this time of lockdown without the need to actually go to school, or are you one of those who miss school already?
If you are someone in the former category you might be wondering why did we ever even have to go to schools. Well, we do need to go to schools, but for reasons that are not very simplistic. More than academics, schools provide us with benefits like a good peer experience, closer guidance from teachers, and the motivation to learn things at a steady pace. However even though schooling does play an important role in our overall development, some critical life lessons are only learnt outside of schools.
So what exactly are these things that we need to learn or unlearn on our own? Let’s have a look.
1. There is no ‘one right way’
Traditional schooling tends to make us believe that for everything there are set ways and rules. However, as you grow up you will realise that the most successful people are the ones who think out of the box. Take the example of Elon Musk, Steve Jobs or even Mahatma Gandhi. Had they followed what the people around them told them to, or did things the way everyone does, we would have never seen the miracles they enabled in this world. This is also applicable when you want to have even a slightly extraordinary career. All the competitive exams, the top schools, and jobs require their applicants to be smarter than the lot. If you want to be one of those who are in the top layer, you must have that extra edge. That is possible only when you train your mind to think in innovative ways.
2. How you learn is more important than what you learn
Life or your future career is not as predictable as your school or school exams. We do not get a fixed syllabus, pattern, or guidebook. The closest examples are those of some of the toughest exams like the IITJEE or olympiads. Have you wondered why they seem to be so tough? Well, the reason is they don’t test how much you know, rather they test how much you can apply whatever you have learned. What they are looking for are exceptional candidates who can go ahead and solve any problem that comes their way. This is possible for anyone who knows how to train their mind to learn in the most effective way. One such way is to understand, practice, apply, test and revise at regular intervals
3. It is okay to be different
Schools being a social environment, most of us naturally tend to think in terms of the group. But as you grow up you will realise that it is one thing to be social and another to be a part of the crowd. As you rise to the top of the ladder, the number of people become lesser and you will realise that most of them are recognizably different from the average crowd. So if you are one of the ambitious lots, don’t worry about being different from your friends or those around you. Also please remember that ultimate success can mean different things for different people. For some it can be excelling in their job, for some, it can mean being the best athlete. As famously said by Steve Jobs, ‘the only way to do great work is to do what you love’. So fearlessly pursue your passion no matter how unique it is.
4. Life skills
As we grow up and start becoming more independent, it is important that we gain life skills apart from skills that can help us get a good career. In countries like Japan or the West, kids are taught from a very young age to be financially literate, taking care of their day-to-day needs and even being responsible for their life choices. So start reading up or discuss finances in your group, learn to cook and clean for yourself, and start planning for your future career. Such activities will enable your holistic development.
5. School or college is not the end of your life
As a child since almost one-third of our time is spent in schools, we naturally tend to get very attached to it. Yes, it is a great place where you will be making either the best or some of your worst memories. But please understand it takes up a relatively small proportion of your entire lifetime. Most of the people like your classmates, teachers, or even the helpers, who seem to be so integral to your daily life, you might never even meet again later on. So don’t let it influence you a lot. Rather be involved only as much as is required and focus on developing your own self.
What are some of the best things you learned outside of school? Did you find any of the above learnings helpful?
Do share your thoughts and experiences with us.