An Open Letter to junior class students

Dear juniors,

Life is not easy. One day, in this cut-throat, nasty world, you have to survive. You have to stand up upon your feet, you have to try to be successful. Many of you might be dreaming about going abroad, studying in Harvard, working in Google, or maybe changing the society, opening a business, and becoming a millionaire. But dreams are useless if one doesn’t have the energy or resources to turn them into reality. There are many paths to success, but more paths to doom. And the only difference between these two paths is the utilization of time.

Time is limited, but most of us don’t fully realize this before we reach class 9. Then we can see the board exams looming above us, the SAT test dates nearing, the unknown vocabulary, incomprehensible definitions, textbooks, and then it’s just cram, swot, memorize, practise and read furiously. There is too little time and too much to do. The typical class 9 or 10 student is thus engulfed by misery and depression and repentance for all those lost years.

Do you want to be one of them?

So please, juniors, please don’t waste the ‘lost years’. Furthermore, skills like reading, writing, and basic reasoning (which are important in all spheres of life and careers) cannot be acquired spontaneously. These can only be accumulated throughout many years. And here, in this school, you are getting the perfect opportunity to do so. So why not use it? Believe me, not many are as lucky as you.

Time wastage can also kick off a vicious cycle. Suppose you didn’t understand a chapter of a complicated book (like Sapiens). You don’t pay attention when the chapter is discussed in class. The next day, you don’t even read the chapter once more, and directly start reading the next chapter. Obviously you don’t understand it, and the vicious cycle continues.

On the other hand, if you had listened to the discussion carefully, gleaned the most from it, read the chapter again and read the next chapter diligently, probably you would have understood it with full comprehension.

So I have hopefully convinced you not to waste any time. But then how can you utilize it?

The answer seems simple, but only deceptively so. Obviously, you have to read deeply, write thoughtfully, practise maths diligently and have deep conversations. But what lies in the root of these all is a much more complicated thing.

Imagine a person telling you to breathe deeply, to pump blood diligently to every corner of the body, to take your hand thoughtfully away from the fire, to brush, bathe, sleep properly, etc. Won’t it seem ridiculous to you? It is equally absurd to tell one to read deeply, write thoughtfully and the rest because these should be like automatic reflex actions. Nobody can go on pushing you like this for the rest of your lives, so you have to automatize them.

Each time you do anything, be it looking out of the window of a train or developing your vocabulary, it must be done conscientiously. But how can you make such things automatic?

The answer to this question is concentration. You must practise concentrating in everything that you do, not for improving your SAT or board exams scores, but for a successful life itself. If one concentrates while reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, one will necessarily excel in that.

The brain grows less and less malleable as you grow up. That’s why one cannot start practising concentrating at class 9 or 10. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative that you all begin concentrating right now, in the foundation years of class 5, 6, and 7.

What will happen if you don’t? Well, I don’t think I have to give the answer. It’s your choice.

But remember, life will be an answer in itself.