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Category Archives: Activism

Marketing Genius Seth Godin wrote a post today highlighting some points answering the rather trivial but highly engaging question “What is school for?”. I’ll give my take on the points he makes in his post. First, let me tell you that within a week, I’ll change to my third University in two years. Yes, I hate higher education, at least the way it is modelled right now. I think paying astronomically high fees for little valued education in this economy to get a somewhat decent job, just doesn’t add up. Going back to Godin’s post, here is what I think. 

1. Become an informed citizen 
2. Be able to read for pleasure
4. Do well on standardized tests
5. Homogenize soceity, at least a bit
6. Pasteurize out dangerous ideas
7. Give kids something to do while parents work
8. Teach future citizens how to conform
9. Teach future citizens how to desire
10. Build social fabric
14. Help people interesting or productive
15. Defang the prolefariat
16. Establish a floor below which a typical person is unlikely to fall
18. Make sure kids learn to exercise, eat right and avoid common health problems
19. Teach future citizens to obey authority
21. Increase appreciation for art and culture
22. Teach creativity and problem solving
23. Minimize public spelling mistakes 
24. Increase emotional intelligence
25. Decrease crime by teaching civics and ethics
27. Make sure the sports teams have enough players 

I can say that these points, at least most of them, were covered, partially or in full before I began my tertiary education. But while most developed countries have free schooling till then, I attended a private school in India, and I’m sure my parents spent a shitload for those 16 years of education. 

12. Generate future scientists who will advance medicine and technology
17. Find and celebrate prodigies, geniuses and the gifted

Frankly, these are only reasons to even consider tertiary education. Unless you are really smart, which will likely mean you’ll be doing some research, tertiary education and the cost associated with it is almost useless. 

3. Be trained in the rudimentary skills necessary for employment
11. Create leaders who help us compete on a world stage
13. Learn for the sake of learning
20. Teach future employees to do the same
26. Increase understanding of a well lived life

To be frank, none of these have anything to do with a school. Most employers want experience (source: the 200 firms I sent my resume to over the summer). A prototype software will increase your chances of getting a job more than a graduate degree. I can’t possibly relate how schools and leaders are related. The world has seen some extraordinary leaders who’ve never been to school, the leaders before the modern education system was established. I don’t think anyone should learn for the sake of learning, cause if you’re doing something for 10+ years just for the sake of it and not enjoy it, then you won’t possibly live a well lived life. And I’m sure my grandfather, an uneducated farmer lived a well lived life, and he knew it. 

So if you’re spending a huge amount of money on schooling or trying to get into the highest ranked school, think again. Schools, more often than not try to chain you down. Curb your freedom and creativity. I’d suggest try and get a free ride, or the highest amount of scholarship you can. Try to take an internship while at school and start working on your own side projects. Try to stand out from the crowd and start doing what you want instead of what the University has to offer. What do you think?

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2009 – The best year of our lives. Yes, it’s here. It’s been here for a while now. The false hope generated by new year’s resolutions is gone. The economy is free falling into depths not before seen. Millions are losing their jobs, companies are shutting their doors and debt is increasing many folds over. I can only comment from my perspective. I study at one of the most prestigious universities in the world and I pay US$40,000 just for one year of tuition and boarding fees. That’s astronomically high, especially for someone who is 20. I tried to get a job recently, but there were no openings. None. Zero. Every company is downsizing. Within 3 weeks, I had sent my resume to hundreds of employers with just a handful of them courteous enough to reply (I don’t blame the others, they’re cutting down costs) and point out why they couldn’t hire me. My government doesn’t want to support me. It seems the pile of debt is going to be endless. And I’m not trying to say I’m the only one in this situation. It’s everyone around you and their uncles. So how is this going to be the best year of our lives?

 

It’s simple, it’ll provide you with time to work on something you’re passionate about. No more dead end job, no more stupid classes with idiotic professors. Work on what you love. I don’t care if its gardening or modelling or programming or whatever. Start a blog about it. Gain some skills in that field. Start consulting in that field. Start your own business in that field. Bootstrap it. Nurture it for a year. Fail a couple of times and then develop the courage to stand up again. Hustle your ass off on something you absolutely adore. Something that gives you immense pleasure when you do it. It calms you down, you’ll keep on doing it even if you don’t get paid. And eventually, you’ll get good, really good at it. That’s it. Turn 2009 into the best year of your life. Stop wasting time, “stop watching fucking lost“, work harder, churn out 20 hour days on something you’re really really passionate about. Some decisions will be hard to make. Some decisions would not be approved by people around you. But please stop living based on other people’s perception of yourself. Live your dream

 

The first thing you need to do is find your passion. It can be anything. You have to be able to believe in yourself that you can make a living based on that thing. You have to believe that you can do that thing for the rest of your life. And that’s it. That’s something you’re passionate about. Step 2, blog about it. Share your passion with the world. Take pictures and videos and send out tweets. Show the world what your passion is and take pride in it. You don’t have to be a genius to blog, even I have started blogging just recently. Just do it. Next, take some time everyday to improve your passion. Correction, spend all of your free time on your passion. Hard work is quintessential to success. Don’t procrastinate or slob. Give it your 100%. Work on it days and nights. Stop watching TV. Find out your time sinks and work around them. Focus completely on your passion. 

 

And that’s it. The magical formula. Given that there are 342 more days in the current year and you follow the same routine everyday, I bet this will be your best year ever. I’m not a multi-billion dollar entrepreneur or a self-development guru. I’m just a 20 year old student who is passionate about hactivism and technology entrepreneurship. I started this blog, I’m transferring to a less prestigious university offering me a full ride and I’m working on my first startup. And this makes sense to me in order to get closer to my dreams. If you want you can dismiss my claims as childish and naive or you can join me and we’ll work through the best year of our lives together. What say?