When someone talks about writing, at least in a school setting, it generally involves getting an article published or being on the board of some publication. Many talk about being part of a publication because it might help them engage with productive work whilst in school. Being part of a publication does help an individual in many ways and is definitely something to be proud of. But what it leads to is an urge to see one’s own name printed regularly, not the excitement of being able to express one’s opinions through writing. The focus of international school communities and modern education systems has become rather myopic. Though several publications unique to each school, from weekly newsletters to annual yearbooks and more, come out each year in schools all across the globe, the intent of writing has changed. Students do not write because they love doing so, but because writing can provide them with the recognition they are longing for. I do not seek to undermine the efforts that students make to write, but I do believe that writing for recognition’s sake dilutes the essence of this soulful experience. Writing should not be limited to ulterior motives, but should be something that comes naturally as a means of expressing one’s opinion. It is no surprise, then, that the best writings are always personal and kept hidden from public view to avoid censorship and monitoring. Public writing requires the writer to adhere to certain societal notions, whereas personal writing has no strings attached to it. In the larger context, what I am trying to critique is the need for today's schools to change the way they perceive opportunity in school. I encourage each and every student to seize every opportunity provided by their schools by the forelock, but at the same time, recognise which activity they are best suited for. What I propagate against is the attitude of students to not engage in school activities because of a lack of confidence or fear of being judged. However, one also needs to understand that though it is always beneficial to try every activity, it is not necessary to perform every one of them. As my years in school fly by, being part of a sports team, play, band, or publication gradually ceased to be the main motive for most people, who instead opted to do activities for the seat of authority that they offered. There have been various individuals in the past who have commented upon this very aspect of majority schools, where leadership roles offered in a student's final years determine a student's decisions and actions over the course of middle and high school, and it is this growing trend of materialism that schools need to address. I am not saying that all students run after material gain. There might be footballers who play every day but do not wish to play for a school team because they think competition is a contradiction to the ideal of fraternity, which sports as a concept essentially propagate. However, I do feel this growing trend of materialism gaining ground across schools all over the world is a matter of increasing concern. The strive for materialistic power is human nature, after all.
Writing should not be limited to ulterior motives, but should be something that comes naturally as a means of expressing one’s opinion.
As my time in school reaches a crucial chapter with college admissions right around the corner, I know that my batchmates have utilised the seventy acres of my school for everything that it has to offer. We may not be the best at what we do, but we have definitely learnt a set of skills enough to carry us forward in our lives. As the writer of this piece, I have used writing as a medium to express myself in school, regardless of whether people make an effort to read what I write or not. Moreover, receiving feedback or even criticism on my writing helps me improve further and strengthen my writing skills. Through this analogy, I seek to establish that it is not necessary for one to be the best at everything he does. What is more essential is that they have the passion and ardour to continue improving in an area of their choice. Moreover, there is no harm in trying out something, even in the latter stages of one’s life. The one thing my teachers and seniors have told me over the years is that it is never too late to begin and build on an interest. What we sometimes forget is that even 12th graders are only eighteen-year-old adults with limited exposure to the world outside the walls of their classroom, and it is too early to give up on learning something new. The tendency of students to typically mock someone who starts anything anew in their high school years needs to change. We still have a long way to go, but our perception of events around us has definitely changed for the better. Through my limited years in school, half-eaten away by the pandemic, I have witnessed it change for the better in many ways. However, as a society, we cannot stop now. It is time we ascertained the extent to which materialism has seeped into students' minds. It is imperative that we challenge this complex philosophical question in order to clearly pave the path for tomorrow's schools to tread on.