5 lessons for the outgoing class of 2020

Seize the opportunity that never presented itself to any other class

Hello #classof2020,

I hope you are staying safe and passing on some children wisdom to the adults at home.

Now, yesterday, I read an article saying the school finishing class of 2020 is the unluckiest with no farewell, no goodbyes and an uncertain college life ahead. I consider this conclusion wrong. Absolutely wrong. In all fairness, I think you are not the unluckiest but perhaps the luckiest outgoing class.

It only depends on how you travel on your educational journeys from here on.

I am Ashish Jaiswal, a writer and an educationist, and here are my 5 lessons for every child who is gearing up to start the college life.

Lesson number 1 — you are the luckiest

Our world has made many big mistakes in the past. Faulty economic models, global warming, persistent inequality. We have done so much wrong that it is not even funny. And you are in a unique position to sit back and think about all of it before your college life starts. The world is trembling and right now looking for solutions. And, you can make this as your college mission to arrive at these solutions and pathbreaking ideas. How do we rectify these mistakes? You may be aiming to be a scientist or an artist or an entrepreneur. Tweak your education and turn your dreams in the direction of saving the world from the clutches of those who are ever so willing to destroy it.

Snatch your world from them.

Lesson number 2 — Wisdom does not equate entitlement

Being able to go to a college is a privilege that not everyone in this world can afford. Never be arrogant if you think you know more than the others. Always share your learnings like a teacher. Make sure to spend some days every year in educating those who are underprivileged. As an obligation. As a duty.

Lesson number 3 — Be a fluid thinker

When you are in college, never restrict yourself to your disciplinary boundaries. Never confine yourself into the identity boxes of artist or scientist, STEM or non STEM but merge them. Develop a fluid mind that challenges, is curious, free of biases and every so ready to learn. If you are in hard sciences, make friends with those studying social sciences. Read books not prescribed in your curriculum. Engage with alternative point of views.

Most importantly, hold your wisdom, your knowledge, in your fist but hold it with a loose grip. The tighter the grip the lesser the room to acquire more wisdom.

Lesson number 4 — thank your teachers

Now you all soon may leave you home to start a new life. At this moment, if you ever have a doubt that your teachers or your parents didn’t love you much. Erase those doubts. They may be harder on you only because they wanted the best for you. I may not be able to convince you now but 10 years down the line when you will think about your teachers, your eyes may go a little bit teary. As I said, they always wanted the best for you. That math teacher of yours only wanted you to be the best mathematician. Your English teacher corrected you because she only wanted you to create most beautiful stories. So before starting on this exciting journey, write a thank you note to each of your teachers.

Lesson number 5 Learn the art of sleeping well at night.

This may seem the easiest of lesson, but, trust me, it may be the most important one. Your time at the uni will be worth it, even if you only use it to just arrive at the definition of what makes you sleep well at night. Think hard. What makes you happy? Is it money? Fame? Cars? Or is it something beyond? There is no problem in chasing these goals, but the important thing is…what ethical compromises you make in accomplishing your dreams. If you reflect on this question hard enough, it will be easy for you to choose whether you want to make money at any cost by exploiting the markets or want to walk that extra mile and earn by contributing to planet Earth. Because in walking that extra mile is hidden the secret of sleeping well at night. Build your career around providing benefits to others — saving climate, searching for cure of deadly diseases, inventing products or solutions that help the needy. And, make sure that you walk on the path of aspiration, always, with a sense of gratitude. As my favourite actor Denzel Washington said, ‘You put your shoes way under the bed at night so you got to get on your knees in the morning.’

Here is a quick recap of the lessons:

Lesson number 1 — You are the luckiest

Lesson number 2 — Wisdom does not equate entitlement

Lesson number 3 — Be a fluid thinker

Lesson number 4 — thank your teachers

Lesson number 5 — Learn the art of sleeping well at night.

Now before I leave you, here is a small gesture. I have lit a candle for you. This is for everything that you may have missed in the final days of school. The candle is just to remind you that you are a lighthouse. The torch bearer of the world. Go and brighten up the world.

Happy farewell and Wishing you a great life ahead.

Good luck.

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祝好运

幸運を

bil tawfiq

buena suerte

n bocca al lupo

das Glück

bonne chance

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