The other day, I was just surfing through my Facebook newsfeed and came across a meme. It basically indicated that the best of students pursue science. The second category are the above average who go to IBA and control the science nerds. The average go to private university students who study whatever they want and become entrepreneurs, essentially having jurisdiction over the previous two categories. And those who fail, join politics and the underworld, basically exercising their power over everyone else all over.
Now first up, the concept portrayed in the meme is pretty inaccurate. But that’s not important because it has fulfilled its primary goal which is entertainment. I am not going to lie, I had a good laugh when I first saw this. But as I found people on my friendlist sharing it with captions that essentially suggested they don’t care about conventional education, I realised something very deep. What influence does this meme have on the youth and what message is it ultimately sending? First up, I think it does serve the purpose of a meme. But I think this one in particular sends a wrong message to the point in which it indicates that the education we are receiving in institutions, ultimately boils down to the materialistic influence and monetary solvency we garner through it. That while, results are considered the most reliable indicator of our worth, the significance of education is measured by our societal power.
This kind of mentality is detrimental for the youth of any nation, especially ours, where the young generation has been the heart of the most important of revolutions and progressive movements. Even if that is how our society functions, where true talent and hard work isn’t valued, the last thing we should be doing is conceding to this fact and following these norms. The youth should be mentally wired in a way that they are ready to break the norms and stereotypes. And education shouldn’t be about power and influence, it should be about the non materialistic things education has to offer — spiritual elevation, intellectual prowess, respect and admiration. It should be about conscience, cognition and self reliance before money and what not. Prioritizing personal advancement and reflection should be paramount. A student topping the class can also opt for entrepreneurial ventures. That’s how the country will advance. We have to break the very understanding that really good students should only study science. But more importantly, we have to oppose the notion that it’s okay to not work hard to be a really good student because at the end of the day, the mediocre ones will have the power. This conception is misguided and damaging; this is basically a myth and should be removed from the system. It initiates and perpetuates a culture of complacency and mediocrity. Not that being a mediocre student is bad, but that it can indirectly take away the incentive to work hard and break that cycle of mediocrity. Only then will we follow our passion and make a positive impact in that very field. Also exams and grades aren’t indicative of our worth or potential, just our diligence. So it shouldn’t limit us, instead should only embolden us to work harder.
I know that some people will consider me too uptight or stiff after reading this. And maybe that is true up to a certain extent. But I think we have all come to realize the sheer power of media in carving our thoughts and beliefs and I think discourse regarding everything shared and glorified on media is absolutely necessary.