Friday, June 10, 2016

Gist of my speech to Rinchen High School Students on Wednesday, 4th May 2016

Good afternoon, my dear young friends.
It gives me great pleasure to be here with you to speak a few words at the invitation of your respected Principal who was my classmate, and is my friend. Your school’s Wednesday guest lecture program is a noble initiative as you get to listen to different perspectives shared by people with various backgrounds and experiences. I want to try and make my points as relevant to you as possible so that the time you spend listening to me is not wasted. I will make only three points today. Consider them as reminders or suggestions.
Point No. 1. All of you here are studying in Classes 11 and 12. Do you know what it means to be in Classes 11 and 12? You may not be fully aware, but Classes 11 and 12 are the most critical times of your student life. How you do in Class 12 makes the biggest difference in the life of a young person. This is because, in our context, marks obtained in class 12 final examinations basically decide to a very large extent, what you become in your future life. All the Govt. scholarships are given based on the ranking in your class 12 marks. The lower ranked you are, the less chance you have to qualify for a Govt. scholarship to study in a college. Even if you think your parents can afford it, you may not get admission in a good college without good marks. I know that the Exams and marks do not measure all the talents and qualities that you have as a human being. But what to do? Since we have no other objective way to assess your capabilities, the education system relies on the examination marks. So, we better give it due importance at least at this stage in your life. Just the other day, I got a call from a relative’s daughter requesting me to find a job for her as she had not qualified for any scholarship after Class 12. I asked her to come and see me. She came with a bunch of certificates and marksheets. Shuffling through them, I became very sad. She had done extremely well in Class X scoring high marks in all the subjects like 90% in mathematics. But here she was standing helpless in front of me because she had done so poorly when it mattered the most - Class 12 Exams. Therefore, the key takeaway from my point No. 1 is to cut down on all your other activities and focus on studies at least when you are in Class 11 and Class 12. Wake up early. How many of you wake up before 5 am and study? How many before 6 am? How many before 7 am? Those who wake up late, make it a point to wake up before 6 am from tomorrow and study. Just this one year for those who are in Class 12. This is what I did too and benefited – so I am not preaching what I have not practised. This will pay off well in the future. I feel my reminder is timely since you still have about 6 or 7 months before the final examinations at the end of the year. It is better to start before it is too late. Point No. 2. Each human being is gifted with different sets of skills and talents. Someone may be good at art while some may be good at mathematics. Some may be good at music and dance while some may be good at language and literature. Nobody is better than anybody. Accordingly, each person has different passion and interests in life. So, it is important for you to recognize your strengths and passion, and focus on it early on. You must have heard about the young designer who designed the Bhutanese traditional dress that Princess Kate, Duchess of Cambridge wore during her recent visit to Bhutan. She has passion in designing and she seems to be doing very well. Likewise, I have heard of a skilled Thangka painter who has hard time meeting the demands from Buddhists in Taiwan and Hongkong. Therefore, finding your talent and building on it is very important while studying to do well in the exam at the same time. Point No. 3 The last point, but not the least, is about the importance of being independent. What I have observed, from my own experience itself, is that we, Bhutanese youths, are over-dependent on our parents, teachers or relatives. It is important for us to try to be independent from early on as that prepares you to understand and face life well. How many of you do your own cooking and washing? How many of you help at home in cleaning and other chores? How many of you try to do your homework in time and without too much assistance from parents or friends? One example I always give is my own experience in the first year of my college in Australia. I got scholarship to study engineering in Australia in 1996 after class 12. In my first year there, I found that I had the strongest tendency to immediately look for help from teachers or instructors whenever we faced some difficulty in solving problems in the lab. Australian students tried and found solutions by themselves. Since you don’t always have parents and teachers with you in real life to help you with every problem you face, it is important to try to be like those Australian students – try and find the solutions yourself. In short, try to be more independent from now.

Conclusion

At the start, I told you that I would make 3 points and I have made them. Let me recap in short:
Point one: How you do in Class 12 Exams have the biggest impact on your future direction of your life. So, study seriously, at least in Classes 11 and 12.
Point two: Try to identify your talents and passion, and build on them. That may be the key to your success in future life.
Point three: Try to be independent from young as that prepares you to face the real life as an adult in the future.
I hope you will remember them and try to apply them. This should make some positive difference in your life. With this I will end my talk for today. Thank you and Tashidelek.