It’s one in the morning. You’re sitting at your desk and staring blankly at the math problem you’ve been at for the last four hours and every cell in your body is crying with exhaustion. The page is full of cancellations, diagrams and scribbles and at this point, it’s just a blur of information in your head. As you look at the endless torrent of questions before you, you just think to yourself:
“Why am I doing this?”
“When am I ever going to use this math in my life?”
I’ve been in this situation more times than I can count and it’s always made me wonder about the importance of school and how much of what we learn in school do we really apply in our real life. Truth be told, a lot of what we learn, we don’t always use later on. We feverishly learn it for our exam and the minute we step out of that hall, it’s erased from our memory completely. However, over the years, I’ve come to understand that there’s a lot we can learn and a lot we can take back from school, even if some of the things aren’t always relevant to us.
Sometimes, I like to think of school as this large food buffet of sorts. If you think about it, just like a buffet, school provides you with a wide range of subjects to study: Math. Physics. English. Economics. Biology. Languages. Out of this vast array, there could be subjects that you enjoy and may want to explore these subjects at a deeper level. However, there may be some subjects that you may not enjoy (in my case, math!) and they become like that icky food on the table, you know you want to stay away from. What I’m trying to say here is that school gives you a platform to explore and understand your passions and interests and figure out which career path is best for you. Unless you don’t try a particular food, you’ll never know if you like it or not. Similarly, unless you don’t try a subject, you’ll never know if you enjoy it and if it’s something you might want to pursue. Certain subjects might be important to some people, but not always relevant to you. If someone wants to be an engineer, they need math and physics and if someone wants to become a doctor, they need biology and chemistry. It’s important to remember that not everybody can be good at everything and that’s okay because school is all about learning and growing and finding an area that fuels, stimulates and challenges you.
School can be a mountain of assignments, exams and deadlines and it’s easy to get lost in the whirlwind of it all. Managing academics, extracurriculars, sports, while yet having a social life can be quite stressful and difficult to juggle. School teaches you how to manage your time effectively and how to plan days to ensure that you keep a good balance between studying and having fun. Although exam weeks are the most stressful, I’ve found that not only do they help you improve your time management skills, they also teach you to work under the pressure of time constraints. After viewing the question paper, you often make a small plan in your head on which questions you know, which questions you’ll attempt first before trying to crack those harder, more difficult questions. In short, school teaches you much more than how to find the area of a triangle, it teaches you so many important skills that are integral in the real world. Time management, working under pressure, dealing with setbacks and challenges are all important skills that are required in a professional working environment and are all fundamentally ingrained into students through school.
Not only does school sharpen your professional skills, it also allows you to grow fundamentally and holistically by creating important and meaningful relationships. At school you’ll have to deal with so many different people and sometimes you may be thrust into a group project with people you don’t know or people you don’t like. It teaches you how to interact with people, work together as a team to find a common solution to the problem or the assignment, which enhances your ability to work as a team and also exposes you to different perspectives on different problems.
Even though school can seem so laborious and monotonous at some points, it's also full of laughs and jokes and some friends and memories that we will always keep in our hearts forever.