Read Time: 3-6 minutes.
Was “mood” the first thing that came to your mind when you saw this picture? If yes, you’ve probably attempted building a house from the roof first to the foundation. Much like aimless study in high school or university but don’t take offence. It’s much more common than you would think, and you should pat yourself on the back for landing here and making an effort to rebuild yourself a beautiful house.
Most of us start contemplating our lives ahead and the educational system around the age of 12. Contemplation doesn’t refer to surety or clarity but simple thoughts. These thoughts either make us appreciate the content we learn, or oppose it, or simply conflict our minds, or guide our future, or still leave us confused- even all the way till the time we graduate high-school around the age of 17-19.
Let’s be real, unless you’re looking to get into the student council, anything you did before the grades/years that university applications take into consideration has no direct bearing on your life ahead. Obviously, it does influence your overall study skills, time management skills among other things, and more importantly- any prerequisite knowledge for the year(s) ahead. The point here being, if you’ve performed poorly in middle school and early high school, don’t panic, but know that you can’t let the same trend go on for the entirety of high school.
Explore opportunities, internships, events, subjects and ideas that may seem risky. Try finding what you truly enjoy. This won’t necessarily be easy but is so so so so important! Once you find out what you truly want, it acts as a filter for your thoughts and actions- you’ll be drawn more towards things that make you happy, and you’ll learn to avoid doing things without a plan and ending up dissatisfied. For a school student- you don’t have to know what job and company you will work for. Knowing your field is adequate.
Once you know what you want, even if vaguely, you’ll naturally develop a sense of priority towards wanting to work towards that goal(s). Having that clarity will make your educational journey simpler.
Apart from this, there are many common opinions I’ve come across which inhibit students and even had for myself at one point from effectively paying attention to their education. It’s not like I can entirely refute this, but having thought and analysed a bit more, I’ve realised a lot of factors regarding this belief and others.
One mindset that has helped me keep my focus on track and keep working for long-term successful outcomes is not to get carried away by the bandwagon of hate created by those opinions. Of course, by this I don’t mean that you don’t carry anti-system beliefs, that would be hypocritical of me given that two of my most popular articles have been against the Indian education system (click here and here) but don’t let those thoughts take your focus away and make you give up.
Why do I need to learn x, y and z?
By x, y, z, I don’t mean algebra, although I get that it’s the most commonly questioned piece of education. Well, for starters, it is important for you to learn different things to realise what you’re interested in. In fact, turn your perception around, if you ever feel like a certain subject is not something you enjoy and think is important to you, congratulations! Even if you’re not sure what you do like, you have fewer options as now you know what you don’t like (cancellation sometimes works pretty well. Click here for more on deciding your field.)
Unless you have a solid set of plans and back-up plans, and fallback systems in check, where you can drop out and start a successful business, or are planning a full-blown revolution, you’ll have to take the content that’s being thrown at you and deal with it. Look at the bigger picture. You just have to get done with high school with a grade decent enough that’ll get you into your university of choice with a scholarship if that’s an aim too. Once you’re past this stage, enrol in a course that is of your interest and as time passes you will no longer remember the suffering of learning relatively irrelevant content in high school.
That’s how I got through high-school. Let alone studying certain irrelevant content, I managed two years with only one out of five subjects that I was interested in, simply because of lack of choice. Now that I’m in university, I no longer look back at that content as I am happy with what I have now and see ahead.
Are you really just not built for that subject?
Another very common belief is that not everyone is made for certain subjects. But, are we really made for anything? After spending two years rocking the 40-60% range in Mathematics, scoring a 93% in my final exams made me realise that it’s not that I’m not wired to do Math, just that my approach to it was wrong.
If you try to enter a house from a side that doesn’t have a door, it doesn’t mean that the house cannot be entered at all but just that you need to look at the house from another side until you find that door.
Although it’s only been three weeks and most people think its too soon to judge but university course work is actually fun. It’s stuff that I like and it makes it so much easier to be doing what I like, so, get that high-school bread and start your own passionate chapter once you graduate! And for modules that you don’t necessarily enjoy– as I said before, think long term, bear it now and do your best and the pains will all be a forgotten tale.