3 Lessons We Pick Up From Our School Without Even Realizing
Photo by Shubham Sharan on Unsplash

I love schools. Really. I mean, what’s not to like? It starts with the entire process from where you wake up grumpily. The next few steps are a nightmare because your mom decides to give us a mouthful early in the day. We are grouchy and without a clue. As much as the day in school is a fun event, whole going to school is dreadful. 

We try finding excuses till the very last moment to avoid school, and the rains were like blessings to call it off as a rainy day. 

The problem; it typically rained when we reached school safely.

Though it’s not the school directly, this daily struggle teaches us something clearly; this is how life will be.

I was miserable in school, and never liked the whole this is right, and you are the wrong thing. I remember the early school days as bullying and teachers identifying me for all the wrong reasons.

From scoring the best marks in dictations and spellings to an utter disappointment in Maths, my life oscillated between praises and bashings.

I could write but went off-topic most times, taking creative liberty. I could play sports but was too skinny to be considered. School convinced me I was a pathetic little writer and an equally no-good player. I did well in both later, so take that Mr. ABC and the school captain. 

Not to criticize anyone or thing as I certainly am not an authority on the school system and teaching methods. Hey, I barely passed in the end. Perhaps, just a ranter who rants as he could not rant back then.

We learn about ourselves when at school. Also, we pick up many lessons without realizing it.  

#1-The uncertainty fear

Life doesn’t work on the syllabus, and somehow schools fail to address the sensitivity of this issue. There is a set pattern and discipline theme to schools, which is good but cripples us to an extent. Not sure how things are these days, but with kids cussing, smoking, and posting relationship status at 12 years, pretty sure it hasn’t changed for good.

Everything at school is like a box. The box can have fixed content, and while it may be filled unnecessary, you can expect the results when you open it.

Anything out of the box, and you feel cheated and screwed. In essence, the lesson of restrictive thinking is what we pick up from schools. We fear the unexpected in life and chicken out easily once faced with a daunting task. 

We get attuned to the known, and we seek comfort in it. Life plays the opposite, and we keep getting little surprises of shock and awe. 

The school for us should be the guiding handout for life ahead. While it is impossible to cover life’s surprises, a little heads up in terms of practicality will help.

#2- Life is about numbers

The more you score, the better you are. We kept hearing this while in school. We got judged basis our numbers and what the neighborhood kid got. The forward we went, we developed more fear. To get more and score more, we started mugging and sucking each line in the book. The better I could retain and reproduce those lines on the paper, the better I am. Isn’t it?

Who cares what’s written in the book? I, for one, fail to remember almost 90% of the reading that I did. Yes, reading. Because all we did is, read to write on the paper to get good grades and marks. The numbers game gets drilled to the core of our existence in the school.

I remember getting a book review assignment once. Boy, I was elated. My curiosity and extreme happiness resulted in creative liberty and story- weaving around characters and play. Though my review retained the essence, fiddling with characters and creative pursuits resulted in a shitty grade. Moreover, I got called out for not sticking to the task at hand. Naturally, I lost faith in my ability for a while. The students who did as written in books and taught by our teacher scored big. They did it for marks and me for creativity.

Number game- 1

Creativity- 0

Throughout our school life, we learn to score at the cost of creativity. The bottom line is what your annual report card said, not the ideas in your head. We grow up believing in scoring numbers at the cost of bright ideas and enterprising nature.

Check out this video.

#3- Failing brings shame and is the end of the world

Schools reward us for being right. If we are right the first time, we sit on the front row and become the favorite student of some teacher. The notebooks are complete with daily tasks and squeaky clean in the upkeep.

Schools tell us what to do and then expect it to come out right the first time. Students who do are the ones with higher grades and badges of honor. For others like me, there is always hallway punishment and a few rounds to the principal office. 

I remember scoring some shitty marks during the internal assessment, and boy, all hell broke loose. The answer sheet went to the principal office, in the class, and then home. 


To project what not to do and how miserable you are failing to answer some integral equation I await during all these years of my life. There is absolutely no place for failure. We are either Einstein or a complete lunatic.

A large part of the population is in service and finds it tough to get out of the grind. We fear failure because of conditioning. We know set patterns and paths, and deviating is not an option.

That failure helps us is not on the syllabus. Wrong answers open the horizon for correct answers is not the norm. 

The only way we succeed is by failing is a thought too wild to be explored when in school. Everybody needs a correct answer from 10-15-year-olds. 

Our naïve brains is pierced with the unacceptable nature of failure. We can try but not fail. 

There is one shot only. Make it or break it, and that’s how we all grow up.

In conclusion

Schools are a must. Also, without them, a large population will be clueless with mayhem around. They bring equality, providing a level playing field for young kids. There’s so much to learn from school time, with a plethora of memories. In hindsight, it is also the time for character building and molding a naive mind eager to learn.

The education system needs a revamp in terms of purpose-driven education. We are exposed to a performance-based approach and lose passion. We learn and fake to make others happy. The performance reward system engrains an ugly habit of following blindly. 

The product that turns out is an ideal working person, not an ideal thinking one. 

Performance metrics make sense but need tweaking. We have to introduce purpose-based education sooner. 

Also read The Case for Living Your Life on a Need to Know Basis