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When we were kids, we dream of becoming successful. No one goes through life aiming to be mediocre or worse, good-for-nothing. We aim to be the best - like no one ever was.
In school, I strived hard to get good grades. I was very competitive then. I was very active in recitations, I review my lessons well, I make sure my teacher "knows" how serious I am for good grades. When my parents told me that the only inheritance they can give me is the opportunity to study. They don't have material things to pass on. I took their words by heart.
Modesty aside, I excelled at school. People who rooted for me believed that I'll go places when I leave the academe - that I'll be successful, in however society defines success. Of course, I felt confident. It's hypocrisy when I say that praises did not occupy a room in my thoughts. I thought I'd go places, that I'll climb the ladder of success with ease, and I'll be rich!
But reality hit me. Medals and certificates are not tickets to success. In the real world, outside academe, grades matter less. It helps, but it's not everything.
Though I landed in a job that I love, it did not pay that much. I struggled - with my worth, with my mindset, with my choices. Especially when I see some of my classmates flexing their recent trips, their expensive purchases, and their lavish lifestyles. Looking back, I remember them taking their studies very lightly.
This is a bitter pill to swallow. While the academe trains us and prepares us for the real challenges, beyond the walls of the school is altogether different. We need not only be smart but also street smart.
The academe has made a big impact in our lives, but there are things we can only learn from the school of hard knocks, such as:
Financial literacy is more than just saving up for the gadget you've been eyeing for. We need to learn about emergency funds, investments, insurances, diversification, and increasing your net worth. Then banks! We know the concept of banking and finance, but while we are young, we seldom think about opening up a bank account and making transactions. Even up to now I still get anxious whenever I transact cheques (for our office, not my own). If only I learned about it earlier, I could have spared myself from a couple of financial mistakes.
We need to invest in ourselves. Learn soft skills. Learn hard skills as well. We need to learn how to adapt to the ever-changing world. Our textbooks are based on knowledge of old, and most are considered obsolete. What the school does is open the door for us. Whether we will stay at the door is up to us. But we need to realize that greater things await us when we take the first step. Grow your knowledge not just from your chosen field but try to explore other areas as well. The world after graduation is not a bubble. We will be exposed to various fields and disciplines. We need to be ready.
Connections matters. Make new friends and keep the old. In a world where everything seems to be a competition, it is reassuring to have people who will journey with you and have your back. Not everyone is a rival. We need to foster friendships and forge meaningful relationships. As soon as you join the workforce, life will be more challenging. So make sure you have your trusted friends by your side.
I'm grateful for what I learned from the academe. I so love the academe that I'm planning to pay back through teaching. But I have to admit that it cannot spoonfeed everyone with everything they need to know. It is already excellent in honing the knowledge and thinking skills of the students. But it's up to us to augment our academic learning with practical and real-life applications.
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Hi, I am Marts! Aside from read.cash, I also run my blog - martsvalenzuela.com. I plan on growing my readership while learning to improve my craft and journey towards my passion to write and publish books that add value to people.