Marks matter - a matter of marks

Exams results are out. Its always a period of heightened emotions, be it celebration, excitement, disappointment and sometimes even shock and grief. We hear the voices of many who ask this question - do marks really matter in the real world? Hence, I ask this question - What exactly are marks?

Marks are a measure. Just like kilograms, litres, meters or gigabytes, marks are a unit of measure. So what do marks measure? This is an important question we must ask ourselves. The common notion is that marks measure intelligence. I stand to disagree on this. My proposition is that marks are a measure of my willingness to make efforts, even when the subject at hand is not interesting or boring. They are a measure of my ability to march forward, covering chapter after chapter, staying focussed and getting the job done.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I passionately believe in the idea that we must all find work that we love. Then, everyday seems like a holiday. Yet, even those who have found this holy grail must at times deal with boredom, and do things that they don’t want to do but have to. Ask this to any successful and happy scientist, businessman, musician, artist or sportsman. They will tell us that in order to do the things they love, they must endure enough hours of pain, practise and so called ‘boredom’. They must find within themselves the energy to deal with the mundane. Only then, the profound is possible.

True, I’m not a huge fan of our education system. True, our system does not encourage enough creativity. True, at times the subjects seem irrelevant. But yet, until it evolves, we must endure, and we must find ways to deal with it.

Hence, marks are a measure of our ability conquer the boring.

The results are out, and if are happy with your scores, congratulations to you! You must celebrate. But, don’t forget that every measure has limitations. Just because I lost 10kgs of weight doesn’t mean that I got fitter. Just because I scored well doesn’t mean I am fully equipped to face life. I must keep exploring myself and expanding my horizons through theoretical and practical training and work experience. Analyse yourself and find out what qualities do you need to fortify yourself with - is it communication skills, gratitude, empathy, curiosity, social skills, fitness, or even plain simple patience? These are what will build your character. Character is what will create your life.

In case you were unable to perform, don’t lose heart. Its natural to be upset and disheartened. You may even have to face the adverse reactions of people around you. You may feel shame. You may experience a sinking feeling. You may even feel like rebelling. Stay strong. Endure this time. It is not the end. In fact, it may be the beginning of something great. This may just be your greatest opportunity to transform yourself. It's time to analyse yourself. What do your marks say you about you? How well do you handle boredom? Have you learn't methods to stay focused and conquer the mundane? Have you built a support system to stay consistent? Take this time to discover yourself, and face your realities. And then my dear friend, set about finding friends, family, teachers and books that can help you build this powerful quality called ‘grit’. Grit is what will create you. Grit can be learnt. You can be gritty once you decide to. Go, do all the research you can about grit.