Leisure: A Privilege To Be Earned Or One That’s Ultimately Lost?

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By Aparna Ravi:

It is very important to realise what you want to be in life, but also, isn’t it important to know that what ‘I’ want to do in life, makes me content and satisfied? Do you want to do what you are passionate about or do you just want a career? The answer to that question can change the way you look at your studies today…

Schooling is necessary; the place where we acquire the basic education and also are given the time to choose what we want to be. But at the same time its the place where we are asked these constant questions, what do you want to do? What stream you’re going to choose? What career options you have in mind? Have you prepared for the entrances? Have you checked with your friends what are they going to do? We expect you to score more than 80%…

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Just a minute… Where am I? Where is my decision? Where is my choice? Why am I asked these questions? Weren’t the “toppers” of the class, teachers, parents and peers enough?

It starts with school when one gets the real taste of competency, when we really challenge ourselves. We go out and do anything and everything out of peer pressure.
It was difficult for me too, as a student to decide what I want to do. I was never able to easily decide what I want in life. The questions kept revolving throughout. There were times when I started questioning myself, am I sensible enough? Am I taking right decisions? Hope the marks I am scoring are enough? Do I have to study more, study hard?

I was quite good in sports and extracurricular activities. I debated well, I was out spoken, friends liked me, and teachers too appreciated me. But when it was exam time, especially the result time, I discovered myself getting stressed, tensed and a little ashamed. Why wasn’t I considered worth appreciation by teachers now? Or was it to do only with scoring high?

Forget about getting the name on the blackboard with the ranks and percentage… I wasn’t even close to the so called “toppers”. But I managed to score well and also performed brilliantly in extracurricular activities. I got the certificates too…but what about that? Weren’t they privileged to be mentioned on that blackboard? Why only discuss the core subjects written in the report card, which did not have much value for me? Debating, dancing, sports made me happy and content. But they were looked upon as only leisure activities. Weren’t the triumphs in sports and extra curricula’s a call for celebrations too?

The toppers kept calculating the point by point percentage and I started to dwindle on extracurricular activities. I had to buck up and was forced to concentrate only on studies. The parents teachers meetings were more like a court session where I was asked about my performance, not to mention, only about the core subjects.

But the grilling time is gone, now I am following my passion and I am happy doing that. I am working with young people and understanding their needs and where they want to engage themselves. Though the questions haven’t stopped yet… and I think, will not for a while. But the hope is still there that I will conquer my choice over the society’s.

Now I am on a quest to discover leisure… is it privileged to be earned or lost? Can I continue doing what I like or will I have to go back and answer all those questions again? Isn’t it imperative that at least now, the youth be given a wide range of opportunities for meaningful engagement? At least a space where they can speak out and do whatever they want. A space without any restrictions and limitations where they can perform and don’t have to think about the results.

Photo Credit: adarsh_antony via Compfight cc

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