“If I don’t do (insert activity) right now, I won’t be able to catch up later/get good results/impress teachers (and so on)!”
How many times in your school life have you heard or uttered the above statement in complete despair, or outright conviction? Here’s an idea: School isn’t all about graduating with perfect scores.
Well, I believe that results are overrated. That is not to say that you should not get good results. It is the duty of a student to get good results and move on to the next stage of life comfortably. My question is – at what cost? On a scale of 1 to 10, what score would you give to a) Being happy as opposed to b) Achieving a perfect score? An unhappy student may continue to slog, but his spiritual and mental health would suffer, and so would his worldview.
Happiness is not the only trade-off. An over-emphasis on results causes a student to take his/her eye of what is more important – actually learning something. It is no secret that mugging and cramming for final examinations does not allow for long-term retention of what is studied. The thing is, it serves its purpose well – it allows a student to score well for that particular examination, but the information studied goes bye-bye in a couple of weeks or so.
Not only that, but I would venture to say that concentrating on studies and results too much would cause one to lose out on the richer experiences of schooling life. When I look back on my schooling life, I don’t remember the times I spent hunched over a table, desperately trying to take in as much information as possible for my next paper (rather, I don’t have good memories of those times… not good at all). I remember the times I spent with my friends playing basketball and soccer. I remember the silly arguments we had over ridiculous things. I remember the sports competitions I participated in with my fellow teammates.
In sum, I remember the relationships I had with various parties throughout my schooling life, the impact they had on me, and I on them. It is safe to say that I learnt the most from these people – things that linger to this date.
Think about it this way – your life span averages about 70-80 years old. Look at the long-term benefits and consequences of your goals and motivations in school, and put them into perspective. Some things might seem more important in the short-term, but would they matter in twenty years time? It’s your call to make.
What does this have to do with being different in school? The norms of schooling is such that you will be continually tempted to place studies as your priorities, 24/7. At the risk of being stoned by parents, I’m going to say this: Don’t. At least, not always. Remember, there is a time and place for all things.
What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, or even drop me an e-mail. I’d love to hear your thoughts!