Last summer, one of my friends was telling me about her worries and anxieties prior to her university entrance exam results coming out deciding her fate of where she will be attending for the next three years of her life.
Let me tell you my friend is incredibly smart and hard working; she's works at her full potential and was always top of our class. So, it was hard to hear her share how she felt inadequate and the result of her being under so much academic pressure made her feel like a number defined how much she was worth according to the education system.
I'm not going to lie, I, myself have felt like that many times in my academic career.
Once I started my GCSEs, it was suddenly instilled in us that the grades we get from an examination paper defined how we would end up in life. If you get an A*, you're going to be living the high life with the flashy car. If you get a F, you're going to end up being a dustbin man. School suddenly went from being this place that nourished your mind with knowledge, to this pressure cooker where your mind was intoxicated with stress (it was no surprise that mental health issues started to take a toll on me at this point)
It was only till I recently came across the YouTube community and saw how normal, everyday people shared the passions whether it was filming make up tutorials, fashion videos, gaming videos or news reporting on the internet. It was incredible to see how they would end up building a career out of doing what they loved on this platform. It opened my eyes that success is not sourced from a grade you got at school, it is sourced from passion and perseverance in what you love.
After realising this, the possibilities in the world felt limitless, it also provided me with a reassurance that my grades won't necessarily determine my success.
My perspective of education changed also. Even though grades do not determine your fate, knowledge does. A majority of the world's revolutionary leaders have one thing in common - knowledge. As Nelson Mandela said "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
Filling your mind with knowledge allows you to have the upper hand when it comes to topical issues. The World Data Bank quotes it to be "one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality and lays a foundation for sustained economic growth".
I believe the education system should not be focused on gaining a grade and being defined by it. It should be about making the most out of the capability within all of us to fill our minds with wisdom and knowledge of our surrounding world. This instrument that a large proportion of the world's population is unable to have, that is given to most of us in the western population for free.
We should aim to inspire to this generation to attend school to not aim to achieve a certain grade so they can fulfil their materialistic desires, but to fill their mind with knowledge and capability to be able to change the world.