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Hello lovely folks! How's life latterly? We trust you've been sailing steadily through the process of digging answers to the questions that the riddle of life, time and again, hurls at us. Needless to say, life is in itself the biggest mystery, so how about answering an amusing and easier riddle today which isn't as stupefying as life?

Who Am I?

 

I'm a nation, perhaps a temporary destination.

Frequented by students, for authentication of their prudence.

Not liked, yet obliged.

 

Woah! Kudos for having fathomed it right! The answer is the atypical ‘examination’ and guess what? We’ve appeared for so many of them that somehow we naturally got accustomed to the idea of getting our memory power and writing speed assessed weekly, half-yearly, and annually.

So, what do you people think is one exam that truly matters in life? Is it the final year examinations of degree programmes or is it that one crucial competitive exam for which we've been under the pump for the past two to three years? Well, the answer lies in the question itself, huh?

Bewildering, isn’t it? How about figuring it out together?

Let's rewind to the times when we received the first-ever reality check from life. Remember the lump in the throat and the butterflies in our stomach that jeopardized us after having exited school? Well, that was quite a revelation to have finally understood that LIFE is in reality the only exam that truly matters.

Till the age of 18, we spend the major chunk of our time studying and learning adequately for exams. We constantly try to improve our weak areas in various subjects by practicing mocks and keep revising our notes in order to do well on the day of examination. On the contrary, life is an exam where the syllabus is unknown, for we never know what life has on its platter to test us on. Its question papers do not have a pre-decided set of questions, neither is the difficulty level. Nor are there any model papers.

So, here’s a list of things we wish were taught in school and knew sufficiently about before standing at the threshold of an unusual and unfamiliar exam hall in order to appear for one of the most real and practical examinations in the world 'LIFE':

Making mistakes is inevitable

It is extremely important to understand that witnessing failures and committing mistakes is just a positive indication of us trying to improve. Had it been known earlier, we would've refrained from being harsh on ourselves after every defeat that we encountered.

Break is not a luxury, rather a necessity

Having made us memorize the phrase 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.' without explaining its importance and application in real life, it was quite ironic on the part of schools. Sometimes, procrastinating on a task to prioritize something else is not a bad thing. After all, we aren't robots.

Significance of jotting down our own unique definitions of success, productivity, love, joy, etc., to not let our life's remote control pass to the world

How enriching it would've been if we knew that living life according to our own terms is more desirable than leading a tutored life, fettered by the clutches of the world's expectations of us? We wish we could have abstained from falling prey to the limiting norms of society at the cost of our dreams.

Budgeting and Personal finance

Imagine having had proper tutorials by way of virtual wallets and made-up ATMs to learn the ABCs of finance and the practicalities associated with the monetary world. How cool it would have been to have attended beginners' lectures on money management and budgeting!

Developing EQ is as important as IQ

In an era of cut-throat competition to outdo each other, it is super important for schools to pay apposite attention to the enhancement of emotional intelligence because certainly, IQ alone could not help us sail through academics successfully. If one fails to have substantial control over one's emotions and doesn't catch on to others' sentiments, then studies too are indirectly hampered.

Learning life skills like self-defense, karate, swimming, etc.

Are there any directives that super crucial life skills like self-defense, karate, etc. can only be learned at a particular age or specific point in time during our lives? Compulsory inclusion of such activities would've been of great help in enhancing our overall personality development.

Setting habits: the foremost step towards achieving our targets

Rather than programming us to be 'successful' by setting short and long-term goals, it would've been so much more useful to have known early on in life that setting the right habits is what leads us towards the fruitful accomplishment of our goals.

It's okay to take a gap year after school and not have life figured out

Jumping into a course or a field without having discovered one's interests and not explored sufficiently can potentially backfire in the most unthinkable manner. It's absolutely fine to take a pause, research adequately and then make an informed decision. It is perhaps erroneous to believe that we have to rush according to the timelines fixed by the world for us.

Mental health is as important as physical fitness

There is a dire need on the part of schools to recognize the urgency to address mental health issues among students. Ignoring it would just aggravate their plight. What a sense of liberation it would've been to have vented out our emotions in time and not suppressed them for the fear of being judged!

Spirituality lessons: Practising Yoga, Learning the Art of Meditation and the Dexterity to read Holy Books

Among other things, it is important to be introduced to spirituality early on in life as its awareness can deeply embed the seeds of curiosity, thereby adding substantial meaning to our existence. To be self-aware is to be at peace with everything around, especially with oneself, a supreme quality that needs to be imbibed sooner or later.

You can do anything, but not everything as you may not be good at everything

Indeed a harsh reality yet an important reminder! Instead of getting jam-packed with hundreds of things all at once, it's logical to focus only on a few things and spend ample time exploring and unearthing the very nuances linked with those particular activities. It is pointless giving undivided attention and energy to endeavors that do not deserve our time entirely.

Perfection can be aimed at but being a perfectionist is a drain on energy

With immense academic pressure and high expectations of all, we always end up setting unrealistic academic goals. More often than not, doing more than what is necessary results in soaring levels of anxiety and stress. Setting such unreasonable performance standards has inconceivable consequences. How legit it would have been to have learned the art of setting realistic goals early on in life!

Comparing our lives to those of peers is the worst use of our time

It's high time when teachers, parents, and young minds should avoid indulging in an exercise as futile as comparison and must open-heartedly acknowledge the fact that everyone is unique.  The tactic of using comparison as a tool for motivation is flawed as it rarely has a positive impact.

Importance of chasing the right things in life like happiness, a balance in all different dimensions of life, meaningfulness, etc.

There are enough money-minded and materialistic chaps around us. We wish we knew that chasing temporary things can never guarantee long-winded happiness and success in life.

Getting trapped in a rat race is detrimental to our mental health and a threat to our originality

The fact of the matter is that there's no race except the one between who we were yesterday and what we wish to be today. We wish we knew that following the footsteps of the crowd and losing one's identity under the influence of herd mentality often does more harm than good.

 

No matter what we achieve and where we reach, school days shall always be the best times of our lives. School is unquestionably the foremost temple of knowledge where one's mind and ideas get a concrete shape. The foundation of one's personality is laid here within the four walls of the classroom, the vibrant school hall, the bustling amphitheater, and of course, the vast playground.

Well, life is not guided by any rule book but some sort of guidance definitely helps us when we find ourselves stranded in islands of confusion, self-doubt, low self-esteem, loneliness, emotional turbulence, etc. At the end of the day, formal or conventional education is supremely pivotal because that's a stepping stone to our professional careers but ensuring room for discussions on LIFE, its daunting practicalities and, the associated horizons is certainly the need of the hour.

Aakriti Sanghi

Delhi North '23

Aakriti Sanghi is a student at Hansraj College, University of Delhi. She is a learner and an ambivert who desires to become the reason due to which people believe in the goodness of others, especially in today's world of polarization where we live and thrive!
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