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The 7 Lessons Every Student Needs to Know About School
The relationship between students and school has always been complicated. Mine, at least, was. I had issues focusing in class, and I was not always understanding why on earth I had to sit there for hours, days, weeks, and months.
It is only when I met, five years later, someone who had been wiser than me that I understood what school could have been all about.
This article will take you through all the lessons I learned about school when it was too late. No regrets, yet I wish every student could read this before leaving school.
1. Do Not Expect School to Provide You With All the Knowledge
It is not because you are sitting down for hours listening to the same teacher that your job is done. Taking notes is important yet not enough.
Learning is neither a passive nor an active process. It is both at the same time.
To begin with, your teacher is knowledgeable and could teach you many more notions that go beyond the scope of the course. You only have to ask questions, show interest, and participate. When you make the class interactive instead of staring at the blackboard like a fish, you make it better for everyone. The class feels shorter, and you feel smarter at the end of it.
Furthermore, you must take initiatives. When school is over you compare against other students, and what puts you over the top is your ability to learn and work on your own and invest time into projects that matter to you. No one cares about how you handled a specific class. Yet most people truly are interested in your latest personal projects.
Personal projects and initiatives add value to your profile as a whole.
Professionally-speaking, your projects will either make up for a lack of experience at the beginning or a showcase of your skills when you are building your career.
Personally-speaking, your projects will take you through long hours of work and research. And these will develop both your knowledge and your personal skills.
2. Apply What You Learn at School in Real Life and Change Your Approach
If you are having difficulties finding what you like and what you’d love to do for a living, change your approach. Instead of learning notions only to pass your exams, think of the big picture and try to find practical applications of what you are being taught.
For instance, if you struggle with reading books and literacy, read something else. Find another topic, another way of reading, another author, and so on. Then, practice the art of writing. If you struggle with maths or geometry, wing up your smartphone and download a game to comprehend the notions differently. Then, try to figure out how the formulas you learned apply to your environment.
I used to believe that I hate reading until I found myself spending hours swallowing Medium’s content. I only had to change the way and the content I read.
The point is, do not think of school as a place to learn stuff only for regurgitating it later to get good grades. There’s always something to pull out from all that knowledge, which you could apply for later in your life.
3. School Is Designed to Help You, Not the Other Way Around
In many countries, especially the ones where school is free and sponsored by the government, students fail to understand how beneficial and important studies are. Until a certain age, most teenagers think of school as a jail. And the less time they spend in, the better.
The reality is, we are extremely lucky to have school and to have access to knowledge’s kingdom for free or almost depending on the country. To have teachers to guide us and transfer us their knowledge is a huge opportunity not everyone has. Books as well are not to be neglected.
I personally believe knowledge is priceless. Should you tell me a book costs a thousand bucks, I’d buy it provided that it matches the topics I am interested in.
School is the only place and period as to which you’ll have the opportunity to learn a crazy amount of notions that could potentially help you for the rest of your life, both personally and professionally.
School should be, to you as a student, more of a launching pad than an obstacle. Feed your curiosity, use your free time to improve yourself, and learn as many things as possible.
4. You Have so Much Free Time, Use It
If you are willing to go out, party, and enjoy your teenage life, spend your time differently. When you are a student, you have more energy and more time than most adults. That is because you have almost nothing to worry about. You’ve got no one to feed or care for, nor budget to hold except the one your parents provide you with.
What I mean is, as long as you are free and you have time, forge ahead.
The earlier you start, the better.
For instance, if you have no homework and you have to decide between watching Netflix, going out with friends, or making researches on a topic you like, please avoid the first choice.
Socializing and building relationships with other students is crucial. Playing video games isn’t a bad thing unless you abuse it. Taking some time to relax and chill isn’t either, yet if you could spend several minutes or hours to learn something new, it is well worth the small effort.
The more you invest your time right now, the more it will serve you in the future.
5. There’s a Gap Between What You Study and What You’ll Do for a Living
It is how it’s done, there’s no magic recipe nor secret formula. You have to accept that school has limitations and that is the reason why internships are mandatory when you reach higher degrees.
The higher you go, the more time you spend working in a company, the less time you spend at school. It is well-thought. When you have proper knowledge, school pushes you to put that knowledge into practice.
You might argue that internships come too late in the process or that courses are not specific enough at the beginning. Look, there’s no perfect system.
On the one hand, if students were asked to pick their courses at the very beginning, they’d get lost and worried since most of them have no idea what they’d like to do when they grow up.
On the other hand, giving courses in various matters helps to build solid foundations while exploring diverse subjects. Yet many students will argue that they feel like a jack of all trades yet a master of nothing.
The bottom line is, you will sit down for hours reading, listening, and working on topics you certainly will never ever encounter during your entire career. You must embrace this truth and analyze it through your positive lens.
The journey is its own reward.
One of school’s long list of goals is to equip you with the skills and knowledge to deal with your generation’s problems. School has no idea what will be your job. All it does is prepare you the best it can.
6. Your Skills Surpass Your Degree
No matter how well you graduated, here’s the reality. Your boss, coworkers, customers, friends, and relatives will judge you by looking at how well you perform. And that does not depend on the fancy sheet of paper stating that you have studied your stuff for ages.
Your skills, practice, and efforts will make you stand out from the crowd. De facto, skilled individuals always get noticed by the simple fact that they are insanely good at what they do. And when they get noticed, no one would ever let these skilled individuals go.
Having your degree might be a good start. Having skills keeps you safe for the rest of your life.
The truth is, when you succeed at showing how good and how efficient you are at achieving the tasks you are given, you become a moonshot. And that will make up for your paycheck and responsibilities.
Do not stress out if you have no degree. Harvard’s drop-outs are not the only ones thriving and making crazy amounts of money. You’d be surprised at how many succeed without this tiny piece of paper.
7. Grades Are Meaningless
Let’s state the obvious first. Grades and exams are flawed yet not completely replaceable. What we aim to do is create a standardized, unbiased, mass-produced, and versatile way to assess how well the students of a course absorbed it.
We can’t evaluate each student on a one-by-one basis since there are too many, and we can’t let them fully express themselves otherwise graders could be biased.
What school evaluates ninety-nine percent of the time is your memory and your ability to scour it and apply it to problem-solving even when you are under pressure.
That’s why the continuous assessment was invented. To gauge your progress over a long period of time rather than judging you based on that one exam you failed.
Chances are you have high thinking skills as opposed to low memory capacity, yet school will most likely foster and assess you based on the latter. It is yet another truth you either have to accept or outdo.
In the end, no one cares about your grades. Your skills, your experience, and your initiatives will make up for your hireability and success.
Besides, the individual you were at school is different from the one building a career right now. Your grades do not define you.
Not everyone has the chance to access knowledge and education in general. If you have, please take advantage of it and do not waste this opportunity. When you grow up, you will not always have the time and energy to make friends and work on what thrills you.
Furthermore, teachers won’t be there to guide and help you anymore, and you certainly won’t have all the time you want to go to that dancing or painting class.
Remember as well that nothing is set in stone. The individual you are today will be different tomorrow, and completely unknown by the end of your studies. The harder you work right now, the more chances you have to succeed earlier in the future. And your failures of today shall not impact your career.
Youth is a wonderful period of your life, take care of it and abuse it.
This article aims to address school’s topic, and more specifically the lessons I learned from it and which I’d like to teach to as many people as possible. It is not, in any way, an encouragement to drop school.