Textbooks are known to be the chest that holds the answers to all your exam questions. In fact, the content of textbooks is amended in a way that they are geared towards passing instead of knowledge gathering. Malaysian Students are known to be the “kia su” society.
Students spend their whole schooling life devoted to “textbooktary confinement”, returning everything they’ve learned the moment they stepped out of the exam hall. However, do textbooks teach you enough to survive in the real world? If you are someone who reads only what your school tells you to, you might want to know what you’ve been missing out on:Textbooks teach you languages, but not communication skills.
Now you hear me, now you don’t.Communication is simply defined as the act of transferring information from one to another. People often undermine communication skills, thinking everyone is granted with it. The truth is, you may have been practicing talking your whole life, but are you able to encode your thoughts into words and send them to your opponent effectively? This process includes speaking appropriately while maintaining good eye contact; demonstrate a varied vocabulary and tailoring your language to your audience.
Communication skills play a vital role when it comes to conflict-solving, expressing opinions, team-working and achieving mutual understanding, thus making it inevitable in life.Textbooks teach you Geography, but not the benefits of travelling.
Travelling is more than a vacation break that you’ve been planning to take all along during your stressful working hours. Travelling doesn’t take distance into account – whether your destination is a place half across the world or the small village an-hour-drive away that you’ve never been to, travelling forces you out of your comfort zone and challenges your adaptively in different environments. It is all about learning a new culture while holding onto yours. You may discover yourself in the mists of witnessing the happenings of the local culture that are unusual yet fascinating. Nothing can replace the unique experiences travelling offers.Textbooks teach you History, but not the importance of learning history.
I may have taken this point into personal account, based on the scenario I once encountered where none of my classmates could identify the faces of Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King and even Hitler during English lesson. Students often think History is simply a subject that they are obligated to pass in exams or even “a sleeping pill” (sighs). Little do they realize that History shapes everything that we have and everything that we are. When we look deep into our lives right now, we find that we part of the connection in the evolution of ideas, where we exist as the product of the ideas from past, and also as the resources of new ideas for the future. I’d always like to use the evolution of equality (which is a form of idea!) as an example. Only a century ago, it was provocative to think that women should have a voice in politics; men were the dominating society in most of the developing countries. Overtime, people started establishing reform groups, having campaigns and protests and giving their all to fight for gender equality. The movement involved not only women, but the men who believed in women rights as well. From here, we see that as women’s effort were taken account, the revolutionary idea took its turning point when men got aware of the issue and took initiative to fight with and for women. History teaches us that everyone plays a vital role in fighting for what is right even if you not the victim. In fact, it takes the majority to achieve mutual understanding with the minorities and take a stand for them. Now, can we apply this to the social issues making headlines in papers nowadays, such marriage equality and racial equality?
Last but not least,
Textbooks teach you that sex, but what is sex?
Have I caught your attention already? At some point in life, we will come across this enigmatic question – what is sex? Why do people do it? When is the right time? Is it something your parents or your religion have control over? We live in a world that loves it, but does not understand it. Sex is a part of nature as a human being, whether it is intended for reproduction or simply just for pleasure. As a teenager in Malaysia, I find that the media is the main source of promoting the idea of premarital sex. The media portrays couples based on a fairy-tale story, which often includes them experiencing sex. This fantasy has become a must-have in every relationship for teenagers. It’s fair to say that premarital sex not only has gradually been accepted in our society, but also become something teenagers seek, for the wrong reason – to secure a perfect relationship. Frankly, a relationship is built upon sincerity; it doesn’t take any form of consent to prove its validity. To simply put, sex is only an action until you put meaning into it. Your body is personal and intimate; it shouldn’t be treated as a “gift” for someone else. Therefore, never simply give in when you are ever asked to engage in any sexual activity. It takes more than just an instinct to make a decision upon sex. But by all means, enjoy the process if you do (lol).
Epilogue:I hope this article gave you an insight of the important things in life that you can’t get out from your regular academic textbooks. There are many alternatives to learning especially in this era where you can have access to any information in the world. Start studying out of curiosity rather than just to excel in an exam. I leave you with a quote that I have its source forgotten or I may just have created it myself – “Knowledge has no boundaries, so stay hungry at all times”.