Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, July 23, 2009

By Musarrat Rahman

We hear this all the time from our parents, These are the best years of your life. Enjoy them!” they patronize. And then they turn right back around and say, “If you don't get straight A's I'm going to disown you.” Now I don't know about you, but these mixed (and lets not forget, hypocritical) messages sure have this writer very VERY confused.

Getting straight A's will ensure you a spot at the Top Universities of the World. Upon graduating from these Top Universities of the World, you are handed a High Paying Job on a silver platter and you are set for life. Right?

Well, not always:
EXAMPLE 1: Bill Gates was a Harvard dropout. Did you know that? One of the richest men in the world was a college dropout.

EXAMPLE 2: Dhirubhai Ambani never even FINISHED high school and yet he founded Reliance Industries of India. The same Reliance Industry, which makes a profit of US$ 4.85 billion a year.

EXAMPLE 3: Winston Churchill was famously at the bottom of his class in Harrow, the exclusive English private school.

EXAMPLE 4: Senator John McCain graduated 894th out of 899 in his class at the U.S. Naval Academy.

EXAPLE 5: Jane Austen, one of the greatest female writers of all time, did not even finish her elementary education.

What is the moral of this, children? Grades have very little to do with success!

The key to success is NOT about the straight A's or an education from Harvard. The keys to success are Passion, Drive and Dedication!

Just follow your heart
When he was a student in high school, Bill Gates was excused from Math classes so that he could work with computers. He was encouraged to pursue something he felt passionate about, something that he loved and WANTED to do. And thus Microsoft was born and Mr. Gates become uber filthy rich.

If you love something, be it cars, acting, fashion, cooking, music, film etc, then you'd automatically want to gather all the information on that particular field. You wouldn't think it's boring, or tedious, or even a waste of your time. You'd gladly soak up all the information and have fun doing it.

Wouldn't that be better? Instead of spending all those hours in school wasting away your day studying random boring subjects you have no interest whatsoever for. Don't you wish your parents would respect and encourage YOUR wants and YOUR needs for once instead of telling you just how smart their friends/cousins kids are? But then again, people rarely appreciate the things that they have.

Take into consideration what your parents are saying, they mean well, but in the long run, think about what would make YOU happy. It is, after all, your life. And while parents may want what they think is best for you, they aren't always right.

Want to join a performance literature troupe? Do you dream of becoming the fastest guitarist in the world? Plan on saving the world by discovering a new form of renewable energy? Go for it! Don't skimp on your dreams. You'll regret it for the rest of your life.

The STRESSFUL years of my life, more like
Unless you were born the reincarnation of Albert Einstein (who by the way, was a high school dropout as well as being thought nothing special during his childhood), getting straight A's is hard work! By trying to keep that perfect grade point average you forget to be a kid. Sometimes, you even ignore the basic necessities of life. Like sleeping for instance. Good grades become an obsession for which you need to study 60-100 hours a week and then you end up catching only 3-5 hours a sleep per night. The aftermath of which forces you to live off coffee, mountain dew and any other bursts of energy you can lay your worn out hands on. Not only is that totally bad for health but it isn't much fun either.

And what about your social life? What about parties and friends? What about living it up while your still young?

During these times of your life you develop your social skills. You make friends, you join clubs, and you get to discover who YOU are and what YOU like to do. And how do you plan on doing that if you are holed up in your room with your nose buried in a textbook?

So, to sum it all up, you're shutting yourself away in your room, without the fresh air that a growing kid desperately needs, and without other human interaction you become unsocial, studying 60-80 hours a day to give a few tests. What about after the test is finished? Do you remember half the stuff you studied SO hard to learn? Do you remember the properties of a Rhombus? The reasons that the First World War was fought over? Where exactly Uruguay is?

Maybe some of you do, in which case this
writer applauds you. You are truly a role model.
Our part of the world puts a lot of pressure on the outcomes of your O level and A level results whereas in other countries, a lot of emphasis are put on extra curricular activities and student's social skills. Universities look at what kind of person you are. Are you a leader? An artist? A musician? A writer? The grades are just a bonus. Most higher education institutions do have grade requirements but they aren't as high as you think. For instance, UBC (University of British Columbia), one of the leading Universities of the world, require only a C in math from O/A levels.

What top universities are mostly looking for in potential students is enthusiasm. They want genuine interest from students in their fields of study so that they can excel in it and become rich and famous! Therefore, giving the University something to brag about.

A recent article from Macleans University in Canada stated that students with grades as low as C+ average usually grow up to rule the world. So don't stress too much about your grades. They can only get you as far as school valedictorian. In the real world, it is talent that matters, not GPA's.

And the next time you're report card is filled with nasty comments from your teachers and big fat red C's or D's, don't fret. It doesn't mean you are dumb, it means that you are destined for bigger and better things.
And the teachers? Well they're just jealous, darling.

Disclaimer: This article published expresses the writer's viewpoint and not necessarily that of Rising Stars.




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