First of all, to make sure that we are all on the same page here, I shall give my definition of the phrase, “To be or not to be”, based on how it went on in the beginning of a soliloquy in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The phrase here is of Prince Hamlet contemplating whether or not to stay alive. He questions the purpose of life and whether living in this world full of difficulties would be of worth. In conclusion, he figured that people live because they are afraid of death and fear life because they are unsure of what death has to offer.
On relating the particular phrase to this case about school, my finding would be that, “To be or not to be”, here means, “To believe that only our performance in school could determine our future or to believe that school is just one of the elements in today’s life that has a part in contributing to how our future would be”. My conclusion to this case is school does play a part on how our future could turn out to be, but to claim that one’s performance in school fully decide on the future of that particular person is just absurd. To be successful in life, no matter how you define success, one must be able to have the ambition to do so. In following up to achieve that, it is not just the intelligence quotient that counts but it also includes his/her hard work, determination and common sense in making decisions for the better as well as other important matters involving the emotional intelligence quotient like optimistic work ethic, good communication skills and the ability to manage time well to name a few.
Purpose of School
In a simplified term, school is said to be the institution whereby education is reached out to the students. Not only that, school is also said to be the place where students’ minds are nurtured for a broader way of thinking. This has been the case since so long ago. However, if one was to think hard enough, today, this is no longer the case. In this 21st century that we live in, school is the place where students go to in order to get official recognition which would qualify them to step into the higher learning institutions. There, they would put in their effort in order to get a scroll which is supposed to be able to assist them in earning after they graduate.
“Grades Measure Intelligence”, Society
It is undeniable that school is one of the medium promoting the idea that grades are to be considered as a unit to measure one’s intelligence. With a big part of members of society going along with this theory, it is very unfortunate for those who have excellent abilities in fields that are not listed as a school subject or those who are brilliant but are not capable of interpreting it on the exam papers.
I am one of those who disagree with this ideology. When one aces his/her exam, it does not guarantee that the particular truly understands and could execute what was questioned in the exam. Many of those top-scorers admit that after the exam, they start to forget bit by bit what they crammed up in their heads before the exam. Such situations simply prove that there are a lot of parts to the education system that do not prioritize the passion of each student.
With the technology that we have today and how easy it is for us to gain information on a wide range of topics, that time we live in school is the time when we start exploring and figuring out our identity to set the career that we wish to get involved in for the future. Subjects in school are there as one of the tools to help us decide our interest. They also help develop the basic fundamentals for us to further proceed with what we intend to major in.
However, it is those who (a) have lack interest in the limited subjects offered in school and (b) cannot ace them as well as those who believe in school as the key to their success in the future, who are being looked down upon. To say that those who do not do well in their exams will not be able to get a promising life ahead is simply unfair.
Many drop-outs, thanks to their hard work in understanding life and how the world evolves with the human kind, have proved that they can even gain better living compared to those who work it with their exams and academic performance. On the list we have Richard Branson who dropped out of school as a 16-year-old. He also happens to be against the university system and is a well-known English businessman who is the founder of Virgin Group and not to forget, is worth $4.6 billion. We also have Francois Pinault who is the third richest man in France who decided to drop out of school to work at his father’s lumber mill because of how his poor background got his friend laughing at him. Vidal Sassoon, the renowned hairstylist whose net worth was $130 million quitted school when he was 14 and worked as a hairdressing apprentice and later on expanding his horizon in the hairstyling industry.
Education versus Academic
Many of those who believe that school is the only way to a bright future fail to remember that there is a big difference between the term education and academic. Through what I understand, education is experience meanwhile academic is the formal performance that you have to put on in schools, colleges and such.
Education involves learning and could take place anywhere. However, to perform well academically, one must study. Learning is exploring the wonders of the world and having the interest to actually do so for the purpose of gaining knowledge. Academic, on the other hand, means a lot to knowing what is taught and should be answered in the exams or tests.
Education is of your own will. It is infinite and beyond. At most times, you learn because you want to know and it is out of your own curiosity. A big part of academic life involves you to force yourself to get into your head even matters that you could not be bothered about. In my opinion, it is good that we have academic to ensure that we understand various things – not just what we like to know of. However, what I feel is wrong is when it is made compulsory that we become experts in every single thing that we have to perform for in the academic line.
In the words of Natalie Portman, “I don’t love studying. I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful.”
I do not hate the idea of exposing us, the students, to the many subjects ranging from topics like Pythagorean Theorem in Mathematics to national independence in History. In fact, I find it rather amusing as such knowledge that we could gain helps in developing our maturity in viewing things. It also makes one less ignorant.
However, I do not agree to the idea of pushing students to make the best out of every exam and pressuring them with the idea that if they do not do well in their exams, they will not be able to have a good future. Exams should be friendly. They are for the purpose of knowledge. There are so many life skills which are not tested in the exams in school. Some people might just happen to have great abilities and interests in other fields that are not listed as a subject in school. If those who are downgraded are those who could excel in their field of interest and make great transformation to the world, it would be of waste if they shy away and put their great skills to waste because of the current state of thinking.
With that, I hereby affirm my stand that school is not all that decides on one’s future be it encouraging or not but what matters most is a person’s hard work, determination and common sense with other life skills that help in creating a bright future.