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Life Lessons We Should Have Learned In School

by Ika Sulastri. |


When I was 19 years old, I can still remember that one motivational program. In one part of the session, the speaker drew a graph of a typical timeline of a human. Then he made a big circle with the black marker around the ‘20-25 years old’ period.


He said, “This is the most challenging duration of anyone’s life. You will be hit with the true meaning of ‘adulting’ and do a lot of decision making that will determine the course of your life. You will experience various intense feelings you have never felt before. Extreme stress, sleep deprivation, dilemma, anxiety, you name it. So be prepared for this duration.”


Oh, how true most of it turned out to be. Without having much time to face, it makes me think that if only I have been prepared, at least I can cushion the hard-hit of life in my face. It would have been great if I equipped myself with a few crucial skills and mindset.


I can see now that there are fundamental aspects that we need to learn, before making sense of the rest. These few fundamentals will be the pillars before learning subjects such as Mathematics, Science and Languages. It’s funny how we get it upside down. The thing that seemed to matter the most was to get straight A’s in the national exam.; it turned out that my straight A result didn’t help me at all with managing my adult life.


Source: Muslim World Today


We should have been taught more of these first, in our school years.


We need to know about growth mindset and the value of perseverance.


The notion of the growth mindset is so important that I’d say it deserves its own subject. Yes, sure, your teachers might involuntarily speak about the trait of a growth mindset when they said, ‘you can do it, just believe that you can!’, but it’s not enough. Most students are still caught in the fixed mindset no matter how much the teacher said they could do better. There needs to be proper discussions and study cases of previously successful people in history that linked back to the importance of a growth mindset. Let the student see for themselves how powerful having a growth mindset is. Simply throwing positive pep talk around does help, but it doesn’t tackle the mind to the core to get rid of the fixed mindset.


As soon as the growth mindset is in place, the act of perseverance will ensue. The student will know that the way we face the obstacles is what matters. It doesn’t matter if the result is not as expected, the main constant needs to be there for every obstacle: to persevere through and seek a solution, because having a growth mindset and perseverance is crucial to face through a young adult phase.


We need to learn how to learn.


We have been so familiar with the adage of working smarter, not harder. Still, we don’t know how it applies to studying.


We should have this subject called The Art of Learning before introducing any other subjects. The science behind spaced repetition, deliberate practice and learning by teaching (Feynman’s method of learning) should be discussed in depth. These few tips of learning will ensure that our students will learn smarter, not harder.


But sadly, we are not taught about this — I knew most of this only when I was in my university year. We thought the more we memorized, the better — or the more that we put in the hours to study, the better. We, especially being Asians, took pride in memorizing the whole textbook, but we don’t even know why we need to remember the facts in the first place! There is little thought put into thinking what is essential and what is not. We need to emphasize the importance of learning how to learn since school because young adult life in our age is all about acquiring skills in the least amount of time.


Source: Shout Awards


We need to learn how to manage our money


We all have a grand vision to live a life comfortably when we are adults. It’s probably why we decided to study hard so that it can land us a high-paying job. But what if I tell you the key to financial freedom is in the way that you handle money, not how much money you make?


“Most people fail to realize that in life, it’s not how much money you make; it’s how much money you keep.” ― Robert T. Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad


In the early twenties of your life, the responsibility to manage your money is on you. You need to decide on how much to put on groceries, utilities, hobbies, and your savings. Everything needs to be within the budget, and our knowledge of finance is very basic at this point. Exposing ourselves early to the term of investment, loans, and the difference between asset and liability would make a huge difference. Financial knowledge needs to be taught as early as when we were in high school.


Imagine if we had a Financial 101 subject in school. We could have a simple mock investment in our school. At the end of each year, the student can see how much the money has doubled. Exercise as simple as this will show the student that managing your wealth is not the mere thought of savings—you need to be smart on where you put your savings too. The knowledge of handling your money well will get rid of the headache and worries over a financial problem. Then, you can focus on your passion while studying without being bogged down with financial concerns.


We need to learn how to market ourselves


People told us that to sell is obnoxious and evil, but when you’re out of school, you will inevitably be in the market of selling yourself. Whether it’s a job interview, a business pitch, or even a request for a promotion, you need to prove to people that you have a set of skills that sets you apart from others. You may not be in the business realm, but you will always be in social business, you will still be negotiating with other human beings.


The art of negotiation and conversational skills needs to be part of the curriculum. If we learn this early in our life, we would be better prepared for the real world. 

We would have been spared of feeling helpless and drowning in the early twenties if we learn all of these in school, and the motivational speaker that I mentioned earlier wouldn’t have to circle the timeline of our early twenties, because we have come prepared for it.


Source: FMT


Imagine how different life would be for young adults if we have implemented all of these in the school. The challenge of university life will be another growing challenge that your growth mindset accepts. You would make the stress your friend. You would know that persevering is the key to success.


You wouldn’t be sleep deprived because you have learnt how to learn and to absorb the material well, you need to get that eight hours of sleep. You will be more intentional on why you learn. You will study smarter, not harder.


When you are worried about your financial condition, you will think rationally on the best way to handle it, because the school has taught you financial knowledge.


You wouldn’t be overly worried about your future career prospects because you have been taught on how to market yourself.


See how it makes sense to teach this early on now? With the right set of tools to the battlefield, called ‘adult life’, maybe then we would finally stop saying the adage of ‘school life is a whole lot different than working life.’ It should be the cue to blur out the lines between school and real life so that adult life wouldn’t hit the young adults hard in the face, as it did with mine.


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