"We have sold ourselves into a fast food model of education, and it's impoverishing our spirit and our energies as much as fast food is depleting our physical bodies," said Sir Ken Robinson, British author, speaker and international advisor on education.
All children are born artists. However, as they grow up, they start going to schools, and the artistic and creative part of them gradually start being eaten up by homework and assignments. Only focusing on good grades essentially gets in the way of the child's dreams and ambitions. So, individuals must make the tough binary decision of either pursuing dreams or continuing studies.
Nevertheless, quite a lot of students are still able to strike the perfect balance between academics and passion that they can pursue both. So the question arises, how do they do it?
Prioritise, discipline, and follow through
When it comes to finding balance, the most common hurdle that one comes across is time management. Everyone wants to do many things yet just can't find enough time. However, not having enough time for certain task often means that the certain task is not a priority. In the words of time management expert Laura Vanderkam, "I could tell you I don't have time to dust my blinds, but that's not true. If you offer to pay me $100,000 to dust my blinds, I would get to it pretty quickly." If it really means that much, then it has to be put in the priorities list. The next step is to make sure those tasks are done properly. And the only way to achieve that is to make a schedule in line with the individual's need.
An hourly timetable should be made and maintained to stick to the tasks. Also, there should be daily, weekly and monthly goals. At the end of every day, week, and month, the goals of the previous day, week, and month respectively should be reviewed to see how they went and if any change is needed. And finally, the routine should be strictly maintained or else, there will be no point of planning.
Hit goal, take a break, follow passion
A system can be made whereby a certain amount of time is dedicated for studies and a certain goal set. The objective is to achieve a certain goal in the set time, that means it is important to set deadlines. And upon completion, the individual is to take a break wherein he/she will pursue his/her passion. Goals help stay more focused. And the thought of the reward (the break) makes him/her more motivated to finish the work at hand. For example, a person can study for an hour with a particular goal, then take a break to go on a short hike and do some photography.
Important thing to note here is that the goals should be realistic. One useful way is to remember the mnemonic SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) when setting goals. Or else, it can lead to frustration from failure of completion and defeat the purpose of setting goals in the first place.
Create separate dedicated areas for studies and for other things
A group of researchers from the University of Hawaii did an experiment where they made the students turn their desks to a wall and label them as dedicated for study only. All other activities were to take place elsewhere. And after the experiment, the students experienced an average of 1.0 GPA increase while their counterparts who did not follow this procedure stayed where they were. Clearly, the environment and surroundings largely define a person's behaviour and assigning different areas for different task ensure enhanced quality in both pursuing studies and chasing the dream.
Select major that goes in line with your passion
The decision of selecting the major should be made not only based on the job market, but also on the individual's personal preferences and dreams. This can help him/her better enjoy the future jobs because they are more in line with the individual's passion. For example, if the individual is into photography, videography, and creative works, then a major in marketing should make sense for him/her.
Even though the general idea is that studies and passion are not compatible together, in reality, they can actually go hand in hand if pursued wisely. On top of that, having personal dreams and passions can help a person perform better in his/her day job as well. A research from San Francisco State University showed that people involved in creative pursuits alongside their full time job performed 15 to 30 per cent better at work than the ones without pursuits.
Having dreams and passions are undoubtedly beneficial and definitely possible besides studies.
The writer is a second year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. He can be reached at
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