Essay 1: Do Marks and Grades Define an Individual’s Strengths?
We all are or have been a part of schools and colleges in some point of our lives. How did you decide which one to go to? Let me answer that for you. You went to the school or college that had a good name in your country, state, or society. Now there, the question is, how does a school or college end up with a ‘good name’? Is it because the owner of the school decided to name his, or her, school something so unique and fancy that people started getting attracted to it? Certainly not. The definition of a ‘good’ school or college these days is one having students with the best grades in comparison to others in the same field. Doesn’t matter what practices the school adopts to get it’s students to that level, you just want to know what’s in the report card of those ‘successful’ students and want to see the same in your or your child’s report card.
Let me share something a little personal with you. I did my 11th and 12th from a certain junior college, not to mention it’s name. That particular college had an excellent name in the field of colleges which succeeded in helping students achieve a JEE or NEET rank and supposedly becoming a doctor or an engineer. Needless to say, I decided to join the college irrespective of their ways of marching students towards a ‘bright’ future. In just a few weeks’ time I realized that I had just fallen prey to what was the biggest mistake of my life. Sadly, I had already invested a lot of money in admitting myself to that college and so couldn’t back out from it. I suffered for two consecutive years. I saw students dropping out and parents of various students coming in to see the director and talk about where their respective children were going wrong. Sadly, it was too late by the time they realized that the fault was theirs. They went wrong exactly where they judged the college by it’s ‘good’ name in the society and not by actual personal evaluation. This is just one example of how grades can be misleading.
Let us now look at another side of this term. Imagine you’re writing a chemistry exam that you didn’t study properly for. Now wait, before you start thinking ‘oh I know where this is going, you didn’t study well and hence ended up not getting good grades’, let me just make you realize how deep grades and the need to get a hold of good grades has grown it’s roots into our lives. Every time there’s an exam all you think of is getting good, or rather, better grades than your fellow classmates. Ever thought of exams as a way of knowing where you’re lacking? A few of you might have, but for the rest of us, it’s sad to know that we’ve got caught up in the fast rotating wheels of time and being the best of all.
Getting back to where we left off with our example, imagine you had a very important family issue you had to attend to the night before the exam. You still decide to show up for the exam even though you know that whatever you have studied is not enough for you to get those good grades. The results came out. As expected, you managed to score just enough to pass the test. The teacher praised all the students who attained top grades and needless to say, you weren’t a part of it. Schools today have started coming up with subjects like moral values and human rights. Ever thought of why there was a need for adding these subjects to the school syllabus? Simply because the current is very strong in this sea of people craving to be the best and this current is washing away the importance of internal values.
Who do you blame in this situation. Sadly, it’s us we ought to blame. After all it’s us the superior beings with mighty brains who devised the ways of attaining a ‘bright’ future and labelling who’s fit for it and who’s not. What happened to values like love, care, responsibility, determination? Despite knowing you weren’t ready for the test you still decided to show up for it. Why? Because you refused to give up. Does that not take strength? May be not the type that you can measure in a physics experiment and attain good grades for, but it sure takes some kind of strength. That strength might not deserve an academic grade and appreciation, but it does deserve a mention and a pat on the back. Does your memorizing and learning skills determine that strength? Certainly not. So how can we possibly judge a person as a whole based on what’s in their report card?
We can’t really blame ourselves for getting carried away in the current. How are we supposed to stop ourselves and be in control when there is noting to hold on to? Maybe we can’t stop the current from carrying us with it, but what we can do is hold on to our values real tight and not let the current wash them away from within us. Grades are greatly variable and dependent. They depend on our external performance at a certain point of time. They have nothing to do with what goes on inside us over a greater time period. While we all want to end up in a bright future full of light, take a moment to imagine how that world would feel with people having empty insides, devoid of values that give us strength to get on with life no matter what, I’m sure you won’t like it.
Essay 2: Should Hobbies be Introduced as Subjects in Schools?
‘Hobby’, a word that is sure to make eyes twinkle. After all, who doesn’t like leisure time filled with activities they love. Often, the lucky ones find their dream job in those leisure time activities. How ideal this world would be if it were a place that allowed you to turn all its time into leisure time allowing you to remain indulged in those lovely activities, won’t it? But of course, it’s not that simple. You go to a store, buy your favorite ice cream and don’t even pay for it. As ideal as it may sound, that’s not how this world works and rightly so. If you were allowed to pick anything you want however you want, don’t you think there would be quite a bit of commotion around literally everything in this world?
We’ve always wondered, at least at one point of time in our lives so far, how it would be living in a world devoid of the so called obstacles that keep showing up on this path called life that we are walking on. Looking from one angle, that would mean you being able to do whatever you want, go where you want as long as there lies a path you can walk on, who knows maybe in a world like that you’d even be allowed to make those paths yourself wherever you want.
Taking on a very ‘hot topic’ in today’s world, you’d be able to chose any career you want, and even change it if need be, the need being your will of course. However, not to pour water on our dreams, but don’t you think that forming those paths is going to require mind power? To answer this question, imagine going back to the baby stage of your life. Do you remember any of the things that you used to do as a baby? Maybe glimpses of them but surely not the whole thing. Now, do you think it would be possible to do anything ‘constructive’, or rather, anything that makes sense even remotely with that bit of mind power you had back then? I’m sure not. So how did you accumulate all that mind power you have right now? Age? Yeah sure, but what else? Age in this case represents not just the years that you’ve been on this planet for. It represents the amount of experience that you’ve accumulated in these years.
Needless to say, experiences don’t just come from sitting at home waiting for the years to pass by. You go out in the world and learn things, the key word being ‘learn’. Now, the greater power that we believe in, who was and is responsible for the existence of this world, was kind enough to bless us with places specially designed for ‘learning’. We call them ‘schools’. Let’s not turn this into a history lesson by discussing about when and how these places came into existence. Let us, instead, discuss about the purpose they serve. As we grow up, there are certain things that we need to learn to take care of, including ourselves.
When we were babies our parents did that for us simply because we didn’t have enough knowledge to be able to do that on our own. As we already know, and as sad as it may sound, every living being is mortal and that includes our parents. We need to be able to keep getting on with life even after they leave us. That bit of knowledge requires guidance which we find in schools. Schools form our basics and provide us with all the primary skills that are going to help us survive in this world. You may curse all the academic subjects as much as you like but they do serve important purposes. Let us imagine not being able to count. You’re out buying food for your family, let’s take bananas for an example. you need to buy as many bananas as the number of family members in your family. How do you do that without counting? You can’t.
This is just one example that displays the important of academic subjects. Now let’s talk about our kind of subjects, our hobbies. Surely school would be much more interesting if you were to learn hobbies as academic subjects. There is nothing wrong with that, the wrong part comes in when you talk about what that would do to learning those basic skills. If you start learning hobbies as the only subjects in schools, trust me, even hobbies would start seeming hard to you. Take painting for an example, how do you plan to get on with it if you don’t even know the names of the different colors that exist and which one is which? You might find a way to do that, but that might drain out quite a bit of the fun part from painting and make it into somewhat of an ‘academic’ subject. Lets talk about introducing hobbies into schools as academic subjects along with the already existing ones. Surely that can’t have a problem. Actually, there is. Imagine competing with your friends for being the best in a hobby. How is that supposed to remain a ‘hobby’ still? I mean, aren’t hobbies supposed to be activities that help us ‘relax’ and not stress about being the best at? Also, it is undeniable that it would greatly dim the importance of the already existing subjects.
I’m not someone who believes in the stereotype of certain major professions like medicine and engineering being the best, but I surely am someone who believes in the importance of learning certain basics. When we talk about basics, it doesn’t just involve scientific subjects. It includes a bit of politics, history, geography, english and many others.
Hobbies do serve an undeniably important role of calming the waters of this sea of competition that we’re all in. Many a times they might turn out being our future too. But to let them dim the purpose of basic education isn’t exactly helping with surviving in the sea. You don’t just need to know about the fun part of being in water, you need to know how to stay afloat too.
Essay 3: Do Marks and Grades Define an Individual’s Strengths?
‘Write an essay on how marks and grades don’t matter. – 10 marks’
A common sight these in most of the schools’ English question papers in the creative writing section. In our attempt to get good grades in the subject we have learnt to come up with strong points that have somehow managed to dim the whole point of grades coming into existence in the first place.
Our world is known for its diversity. Diversity in cultures, lands, races and so on. There is diversity to be seen even among twins. Naturally there is diversity in people’s beliefs. While some of us truly believe in the points we put forward regarding grades, others might just be doing it because they want to get done with grades and get rid of the study load on their shoulders. For the latter kind of people, there is some clarification that needs to be put forward. Grades have brought forth the need and hunger for attaining the best ones. Save your breath, or your mind power rather, ’cause I’m not trying to be like one of those stuck in the stereotype of chasing a ‘bright’ future. Needless to say, grades are not something that give an idea of our inner strengths, they surely don’t. But let’s look at it from another angle. Suppose you have a test coming up a few days later, the syllabus is really vast. Instead of studying for the test you decide to go have some relaxation time with your friends cause what importance do grades hold anyway, right? Grades are not a measure of your inner strengths, we get that, but are you doing a better job at measuring your inner strengths or sharpening them by any chance? Doesn’t look like that. When we talk about strengths we need to remember that they don’t just mean love, care, courage and all those qualities. Strengths also include determination, focus, concentration, perseverance and others of that sort.
You consider yourself not of the academic excellence type, fine, but are you sure it’s wise trying to prove something simply because you’re too tired to get on with the opposite? Is getting tired and feeling lazy to put in work a good enough reason to give up on something and standing against it? Certainly not. Your refusal to study for the test doesn’t really speak highly of your inner strengths; focus, concentration or determination to name a few. Schools are mostly for teaching you the basics which don’t just hold importance in making your future but in simply getting on with your life. Imagine not knowing the difference between water and oil, frown as you may like but something as simple as this did not get into your brains on its own, you learnt it in school. Now don’t come up with something like ‘my parents taught me that’ or ‘I learnt that on the internet’. Your parents, or the ones who put it on the internet too learnt it from somewhere.
There are reasons behind certain things being the way they are. You don’t need to stand with grades in its support when it comes to measuring your inner strengths. But grades do reflect your determination, focus, concentration and perseverance over time, keeping aside factors like personal issues of course. You need to realize that there is a line between believing in something and believing in something simply because the alternative doesn’t suit your preferences and sounds too hard. However fine that line might be, it does exist and holds quite a bit of importance.
Essay 4: Should Hobbies be Introduced as Subjects in Schools?
The current world scenario is one that holds no space in its frame for people moving slow. Either you’re at the front, or trying to be at the front by competing with all those around you. Should you want to take some other road and explore a world different from the one everyone’s after, be careful, you might just walk out of the frame and risk the whole point of your existence.
This world has become a place for people who constantly want to be in the frame of every photo ever clicked. They want to be at the pedestal receiving medals and prizes for every competition ever held. However, every bridge has two parts, the above water part and the underwater one. Just because the above water part is what’s always visible and more architecturally designer doesn’t mean the part underwater has no point of its existence. Both of them have a purpose, a function. Imagine the above water part missing, where would you walk or run your cars? Now imagine the underwater part missing, how would the above water part remain stable and supported? Surely it can’t float on its own, though that is something one of us might be able to achieve some time in the near future. The above water part of a bridge represents our parents’ favorite professions; doctors, engineers, lawyers, IAS officers and so on.
These are people you get to see the great deeds of everywhere and everyday. Surely those professions are great, they fulfil every human need; money, power and even respect. But let’s not forget there exist people and professions in this world that go unnoticed despite the very important contributions they make everyday, just like the underwater part of the bridge. Imagine a world without music, novels, sports and all activities of such sort, where do you intend to go, what do you intend to do in a world like that every time you’re feeling low? As for me, I’ve had my share of low points in my life. Music and novels have always been there for me, providing me with just the refreshment and change of mind I’ve needed to start my engines and get going on the path of life once again. Let us now focus on another saying that we’ve heard teachers and principals of our schools say about a bazillion times, ‘ All of us here have special qualities and talents’. It’s sad to know that this special qualities and talents sphere that they talk about has a barrier that only those having talents in their specified fields can cross. What about those blessed at singing, or sports, or dancing, or creative writing? Where is their special talents sphere?
We human beings are extremely lucky to have been born the way we are, able to learn various physical activities according to our own will. Imagine a fish being taught to walk, or fly. No matter how good a teacher you are, the possibilities of you ever being able to make it walk or fly are next to nil. In case you’re planning a school open for all, free of discrimination, why not plan different wards for nurturing the needs and talents of every student that you decide to take in? Why should others follow your choice of subjects and not theirs? What we call hobbies today are activities that one likes to do in their free time.
What we don’t realize is they are activities meant for free time mainly because our world is so hungry for wealth, power and respect that any activity that doesn’t directly guarantee a future full of those things is deemed unfit for being a subject good enough to dive into and learn, or rather, a profession.
Schools today are so ironic. First, they make us all feel like we must excel at the subjects thrown at us, and then they ask us questions like ‘Do you think the current education system is unfair?’ in our exams expecting us to write answers long and reasonable enough so we can earn marks for our ‘good and bright future’. Well what if we do? Are you finally going to stop chasing after wealth, power and respect and finally realize that fishes are meant to swim and not walk or fly?
At times it becomes really hard for me to fathom why it’s so hard to understand that ‘hobbies’ are not just meant for our ‘leisure time’. They are real activities that deserve as much attention as our current academic subjects do. We talk about children being the key to a better and more developed future that all of us are awaiting. Well the news is, that future is not coming any closer as long as we keep treating every human being as a mere creature that is meant to walk a path already laid down for him. Let him get his hands dirty and dig his own path, the only thing you have to do is provide him with the right tools.
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Author – Suranjana Boro