Learn life lessons

Now that the boards are over, there is time aplenty to pick up skills you may not have been able to pursue while in school

By Chandana Chandra
  • Published 2.04.19, 11:10 AM
  • Updated 2.04.19, 11:10 AM
  • 4 mins read
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If you haven’t learnt cycling, you better rectify that failing before aspiring to a four wheeler. If you go abroad for higher studies, cycling and driving will be of great use as public transport is non-existent on some foreign campuses. (Shutterstock)

This is the time to sit back and relax for at least a couple of weeks for those of you whose board exams are over. After you have watched all the movies you had missed, taken a trip to the hills or the beach and caught up with friends, you could consider learning a new thing or two. This is the right time to learn life skills that you were never taught in school. Once you are in Plus Two, or college, you will be too busy with academics and have very little time left for other things. Here are six cool things you could do now.

Drive, swim, cycle

If you are over 18 and haven’t learned to drive yet, now’s the best time. Medha Das, a BBA student at the Institute of Engineering and Management in Calcutta, joined a driving school immediately after completing her Plus Two in 2017. “I had daily driving classes for two months — ample time to learn to drive with confidence,” she says. It helped that her father let her hone her skills on the family car. Now she is confident enough to drive to college occasionally. “Had I not learnt after the boards, I’d have never got the free time to learn to drive,” she says.

If you haven’t learnt cycling, you better rectify that failing before aspiring to a four wheeler. If you go abroad for higher studies, cycling and driving will be of great use as public transport is non-existent on some foreign campuses.

Swimming is another life skill one must learn. This can not only keep you fit but also potentially save your life. Summer happens to be the best time to learn it, but it must be done under proper supervision. Salony Pandey, a BBA student at Techno India University in Calcutta, learnt swimming after her Plus Two board exams two years ago. “I joined College Square Swimming Club [in central Calcutta]. I spent half an hour in the pool every afternoon for six days a week,” she says. By the time her board result was declared, she had become an adept swimmer.

Cook a meal

Few schools teach students the skills needed to fend for themselves when they move away from their family for college. It’s important to be self-sufficient and independent. One of the basic skills is the ability to cook food on a tight budget with a few basic tools. This will not only save a lot of money but also make sure you are having nutritionally sound meals. Now is the right time to learn how to wield a kitchen knife and a ladle.

Srijita Banerjee, a second -year BCom student at J.D. Birla Institute, took part in a cooking camp when she was in school. “I learnt the basics of cooking almost everything at that summer camp and have ever since loved being in the kitchen. Occasionally, I cook my favourite dishes too, for myself and my family. Every one should learn to cook for his or her own benefit,” she points out.

She also took a course in interior design. “I love decorating my home. But the course gave me enough ideas to turn this into a profession in future,” she says.

Learn a language

If you are planning to go abroad for higher studies or a vacation, this is the best time to pick up a foreign tongue. German, Chinese, Japanese and French are in high demand. Learn the basics of your preferred language, and later you can brush it up in that country while studying at a foreign university or taking advanced courses. Eventually, this knowledge can also help you land a job in a foreign company.

Srijita took admission to a foreign language course after her Plus Two board exams in 2017. She says, “I wanted to learn a foreign language as having that skill has become important nowadays to land a job in multinational companies. Initially, I was confused between German and Spanish. Later, I found German is more valuable than Spanish so I decided to learn Deutsch.”

Community service

Having some volunteering experience can make your college application stand out. You can also join community service if you want to give back to society or get to know the harsh realities of life. Taking time out to help the less fortunate would also suggest that you’re a team player, a quality appreciated by many recruiters. Not to mention the emotional satisfaction it brings.

Riya Reddy, a second-year student of journalism at Raja Manindra College in Calcutta, got involved in volunteering after her board exams. As a member of the start-up social organisation AsTHA in North Calcutta, she contributes financially to donate food and clothes to the poor on occasions. “This work gives me immense pleasure as I always wanted to do something for society. I don’t measure this in terms of profit or loss,” says Riya.

Whatever your reason, try your hands at volunteer work after boards. This can help you learn a lot about yourself.

First aid and CPR

First aid is a life-saving skill. “Every family should have a boy or girl trained in first aid,” said Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, the first President of India. You must have seen or heard how victims of cardiac arrest have died on the streets in India simply because there was nobody around to offer the basic life-saving technique of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation or CPR.

A recent pan India survey conducted by Lybrate — an online doctor consultation platform — found that less than 2 per cent of the 1 lakh surveyed knew the technique and only 0.1 per cent said they have performed it in an emergency.

“Thousands of lives can be saved if CPR is provided at the right time to patients suffering a heart attack,” says Manabendra Mandal, state secretary (honourary) of West Bengal, St John’s Ambulance Association, a first aid and care charity.

Saahil Gupta who appeared for the Madhyamik examination from St Lawrence High School in 2019 recently took a course in first aid from this organisation, “I wanted to learn CPR so that I can save people from dying,” he says.

“You can learn first aid in six Sundays. That includes practical training in CPR,” says Dr Amitava Bose who is the secretary of St John Ambulance Tollygunge.

Heritage haunts

Poluami Auddy and Aatreyee Ghosh are two students who passed out of Loreto Day School, Dharamtala, Calcutta, who loved to take walking tours to the heritage buildings in the city, especially the ghats by the Hooghly river. As both of them grew up in the precincts of northern Calcutta, they were fascinated by the colossal heritage properties in the locality. “We discovered why the city was once called the city of palaces,” says Poulami. “We made it a point to visit the ‘palaces’ and other heritage structures before they were pulled down and turned into multi-storeyed apartments.” When they conducted research, they were fascinated by the rich history of the architectural wonders.

Recently, they have started organising walking tours to the ghats of the Hooghly river for students and young people to make them aware of the rich heritage of the city. “After boards, students can take a walk around the city’s heritage streets to know how rich was our past and take pride in it,” says Aatreyee.