Academia v/s Intelligence

Posted on January 25, 2010 in YKA Editorials

Shreya Krishnan:

Browsing the net, I stopped by to read about a day in IIM-B (here). I have never been to an Ivy league institute, though I have always affectionately associated all my alma mater as premier J. Like most kids, I have dreamt of studying in one of the IITs, IIMs and the likes. Who wouldn’t wish to study there? Nevertheless, I haven’t had an iota of regret for my education.

Yes, indeed academia has always chased me almost to the extent of killing me. I have always detested slogging to clear exams like most of my peers (this fact I’m sure of). And my academic marks have just justified the same. For your information, they are not worth publishing but I have never shied away from learning. From time immemorial, I have always been curious and inquisitive, which I have learnt is a good trait. And so has been my learning curve.

Though academia has not been my forte, I realized pretty soon that intelligence and academics do not implicate the same thing. Intelligence per se defers from areas of interest of the person and the medium of evaluation. On the contrary, academic performance, in India is measured most likely on the same pattern which has been proven time and again to be ineffective. Most likely after 10 years of clearing your 10th, you wouldn’t care how much you scored in Science or Math. If it isn’t so important in life, then do we exaggerate its importance? If academic performance doesn’t imply your capability or your intelligence per se, then why does the corporate sector still insist on a good academic performance? Why are we so critical of the mark sheet and not critical of our knowledge and learning? Does a 90% ensure that I have the equivalent knowledge required? If that was the case, then there would be many more successful and happier people in all fields.

After 3+ years of work ex, I am sure when you get down to real business, it really never matters how and why you scored a 90%. What matters is all that you have learnt. All that a good degree and a score card do is get you an entry into the boat. But to sail and survive in the deep sea, you need to survive the real test. The best learning you can ever get is from yourself. Learn all that you can every minute. Learning is a continuous process and should always remain exponential. The best judgement line would be to evaluate your knowledge from time to time. If you have learnt something that you didn’t know yesterday, you are surely on the right track.

So the next time you are sitting up all night long wondering if you will at least score a 35 on the next day’s paper, think again. What you might spend the whole night mugging up, may not even be useful 10 years later. Of course do not take exams lightly unless you do not want a degree. But in the process, please don’t forget the most essential part of learning. Get a degree to improve you and your personality as a whole, and not to find just another job!

Strive for excellence, and success will be at your foothold.

Youth Ki Awaaz

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Hey Shreya,

Its a well written article about your take on education.

My thought process which was during my school and college days have entirely changed now based on my life experience.

Its true that we need to study, which is the only thing which I believe keeps everyone exciting in life i.e. to no new things about anything, it may be simplest thing like how to talk to people or how much salt is required for a particular dish.

What we do during our college days is just slog all night to get higher percentage leaving behing the essance of enjoying in what we are truly learning. Most of the time what we have learnt doesn’t matter at all once you start working.

I have experienced is we do our education to learn different things and not to get a descent job. Because what we learn and the work we do are compltely different. We work to earn our bread and learn to know things. When we start working on something may be initially it might be an up hill task, but ones you start enjoying, it just becomes a daily routine.

I think everyone just need to have an open mind and enjoy what we are doing, and keep learning new things which surely keeps life exciting.


hey shreya,

A Well written article. This has always been a problem in the indian education system. Emphasis is more on securing good marks rather than learning. In comparison, the west fares better than the east. Atleast in the west more onus is on doing what one likes rather than doing things just to please someone or even perhaps to get a job. May be we can learn a lesson or two from them and imbibe some of the good things from their education system.


Thanks guys for ur responses.
Yes indeed i wish there would be some change in the way we educate ourselves.
I hope we become educated souls more than just literate zombies :)

  • A New Day Will Come
  • Anurag

    Hi Shreya ,
    thanks for bringing out the nuances between the academics and intelligence . This simple fact that marks don’t really translate into success unless you are equipped with the right skills :- communication , dealing with people etc is a contention that is agreed by everyone but practiced by few in our country . System has never evolved in our country , it still remains static . Everyone wants more marks no one wants more skills !

    Keep Posting !

    best regards


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