Growing up in India, I spent 18 years in the Indian Education System, 15 in School and then 3 years in an undergraduate degree. And growing up in India, the importance of education was ingrained into me. There’s this weird obsession in the country for kids to study hard, get top grades, do an engineering degree and then work in software. This is, unfortunately, almost a routine for lots of people even today.
And I suppose for a little while, my parents wanted that for me too. After all, my brother had done it and he had excelled in his education and his career. But when they realized that that wasn’t where I excelled at, they were supportive of me picking my own path.
And while growing up, the system worked for me. I studied in one of the top CBSE Schools in the city, I understood the concept and explained it in the exam and I scored well. But truth be told, a lot of what I did during all those years in school, it was basically just reading and understanding what was in the textbook and then explaining the same thing in my own words in the exam. And what’s the problem with that, you ask. If you asked me something technical from what I learned in school, I would probably not be able to explain it to you now.
So I finished my schooling and decided to pursue a career in Media. I got into one of the leading colleges in the city and sat down to start learning the ins and outs of the Media Industry in India. But I got something I did not expect. College had a lot of practical experiences that allowed us to learn by doing. And in all honesty, I learned a lot. But when it came to the exam, I still had to learn what was there in the notes and write it out. And that was all was needed and all that was expected. I wouldn’t be able to think of one person who went beyond. We all instead did this and did what we needed to do to learn more about whatever we were passionate about. I passed out with a distinction and said: “Okay, what next.”
And here came the turning point in my life.
Based on my experience in an internship, I decided to pursue a masters degree in Marketing and I decided that I wanted international exposure when I did this. I went to Britain to do my masters. I didn’t realize that I was in for a reality check. There were no longer textbooks or notes. It was no longer enough to learn what was in the notes. Instead, we were expected to go out of our way to do the research, understand the concepts, site examples extensively and go all the way. I was no longer just studying the concept. I was researching and amassing in-depth knowledge about the topics and subject.
And the best part, 10 years from now, I’ll still be able to explain any of these topics well enough to have the other person understand it too.
So there you go, that’s my dilemma with the Indian Education System. I understand how the system helps, and I do understand that for some professions, it is even necessary. But one thing I would have really appreciated growing up would have been an expectation to go that extra length because what was in the textbook would just not be enough for the exam.
And here’s why. One year studying this way made me realize how much better I could learn and now, automatically, that is the way I approach every little thing in life, especially my work environment.
You try it too, you might just fall in love with learning as well!