Dear Students, Love, 3 Idiots


Every September I have a ritual of watching this movie that never fails to inspire me right before school! I highly recommend this movie to every student out there, no matter what language you speak (It’s a hindi film, but you can find a dubbed version or one with subtitles easily!), where you come from, or what post-secondary program you’re in. The lessons in this movie speak to everyone, and it’s a hopeful remedy for students who feel they are lost.

The film chronicles the life of three students (Raju, Farhan, and Rancho) who meet at the prestigious Imperial College of Engineering and become roommates. The development of their friendship goes through ups and downs and touches on many important issues that come about in post-secondary education, as well as issues with family and friends. It’s hard to define exactly what genre this movie falls into. It’s funny, heartbreaking, romantic and inspirational.

Because this movie fits into so many categories, it’s filled with life lessons at every turn. It has a rating of 8.4 on IMDb, a well deserved 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating Here are two awesome lessons from my favourite three idiots!  

1: This is college, not a pressure cooker.

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Following the unfortunate suicide of a fellow classmate, Rancho criticizes his school and the education system for being the root of his country’s number one cause of death; suicide. Virus, the school’s Principal, counteracts by dismissing Rancho’s evidence as irrelevant since their school is number one, but Raju begs him entertain what that notion even means. “What number one, what number one?” he asks, “No one talks about new ideas or inventions here. If they do talk, it’s about marks or getting jobs.”  

From my own experience, I can attest that this is very much true. Knowledge is often put on the backburner and marks are held at an elevated level. With the amount of content one has to learn, and the pressure of getting and maintaining the best grades possible, it is so much easier to just memorize. The downfall is it’s extremely difficult to hold onto the information and to innovate new ideas.

The movie teaches, “Don’t study to pass exams, [and] don’t run after success. Run after excellence. Surely, success will follow!

As a way to go about changing this, Rancho advises that one should reflect before they start a course or a lecture or any other venture. Think about the opportunity you’ve been given, and what you’ll be learning. Learning should be fun, not a chore. And if it is a chore, you’re not learning as well as you could.

How many people often reflect like this? Not many. Everyone just jumps right into the race, eyes set on the prize. Throughout the film, Rancho asks what the point of coming first is if you’re not learning. The only thing that increases is the pressure in your head. “And this is college, not a pressure cooker,” he says, “Even a tiger can learn to jump on a chair out of fear -- but we call him well-trained, not well-educated.

Starting your semester, or any new venture, with this film will allow you to see what it means to be an excellent student. This film will fill you with hope and reignite your passion for learning. With a new focus and a new outlook, you’ll both learn and be content. With this new attitude, cramming and memorizing will become unnecessary, and you’ll be well on your way toward excellence.

2: Follow your dreams; do what you love.

If Celine Dion’s parents had forced her to become an engineer, where would she be today?

If Chris Hadfield’s parents had forced him to become a professional swimmer, would there be a great Canadian Astronaut to replace him?

“Do you want to know why I come first in school?” Rancho implores to his friends, “It’s because I love machines. Engineering is my passion.” He invites his friends to follow their dreams "because when you make your passion your profession, then your work in the future will become play."

This is also a very big issue around the world: parents impose their dreams onto their children, not realizing the extent to which this negatively impacts them. Out of fear of rejecting their parents, or due to lack of courage to go for what they truly want, many people often find themselves struggling in a program they hate and then later, working a job they feel no love for.

After spending many years, and tons of money dedicated to fulfilling a dream that isn’t theirs, and working a job that isn’t made for them - many people are not able to turn back time and go after their dreams because after all, money and time are not reversible. Once you spend all that money on a program you didn’t like, you’ve just thrown it out the window. That’s not to say you didn’t learn and didn’t grow from the experience. You just didn’t grow in the way you were meant to.

Finding yourself is such an important part of life; it comes with ups, downs, roadblocks and dead ends. For many, this happens in post-secondary school, so this movie comes as a gem for students. Even if you have found your passion, this movie will not only encourage you to run after it, it will make you believe you can! You can see firsthand how passion is not something to be ashamed of, and that in terms of confidence, it takes a lot of it to go after what you love. Because that means you know yourself!

As this winter semester rolls into an end, do yourself a favour and set aside a few hours to wind down and enjoy this epic masterpiece before exam season! I can confidently promise that you will be moved in the best way possible, and your soul rejuvenated to tackle your exams with fervor! 3 Idiots is my study drug - I can pull up a scene, or a quote on my phone - and within a few moments of reflection, I’m right back in the game!

It’s a great film, and when I say you’ll be doing yourself a service, I really mean it! You deserve to watch this film because you are your greatest asset, and you deserve to know the extent of your greatness! This film shows you that achieving your full potential is not a given, but a guarantee!



References: Hirani, Rajkumar. 3 Idiots. 2009. Vinod Chopra Films. 

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