• Learning Beyond the Classroom
    05 Aug, 2014

    Education is About More than the stuff in your Textbooks is also about finding new ways to grow.

    In a world as competitive as ours,it’s easy for students to get bogged down by the sheer amount of work that is demanded of them. With the increasing demands of global corporates, and with the education sector getting more and more specific and specialised worldwide, there is a shift towards standardising education and reducing its scope. While students are being forced to study more subjects and go deeper into each subject, educators seem to have lost sight of the ultimate goal of education, and are focussed only on producing an army of doctors and engineers.Survival is not easy, except for the fittest and the prevalent attitudes often make it hard for students to focus on anything beyond rote learning.

    But it takes a lot more than mere knowledge to make a complete, well-developed individual. It’s important for you to have the skills to sift through all that knowledge, and be able to separate the grain from the chaff.Right from the beginning, students are told that if they don’t do well in their Boards, they won’t get into a good college. If they don’t get into a good college, they will never land a good job, and their lives will effectively be over. Parents and teachers pile on the pressure, reminding students of the dire consequences that await them if their performance dips even a bit. At the very least, this is a gross exaggeration.Not scoring well at any stage in your life is not the end of the world. Nor is a good academic record any guarantee of a happy and satisfying life.

    Up to the college level, yes, people do judge you based on your marks, because there are thousands of students applying that there is no other way to determine who to select. But once you enter the corporate world, nobody really cares anymore how you did in school or college. The things people look for in candidates at this stage are very different and wide-ranging. They judge candidates based on their outlook on life, and their ability to handle different kinds of people and situations. They look for candidates with a positive attitude towards work and towards people. They look for people with good communication skills. They also look for candidates who are able to demonstrate that they can act independently and take effective decisions. All these are not things that can be learned from a book. These are things that are learned by interacting with a wide variety of people and experiencing and learning to cope with a wide range of situations. Knowledge might serve you well in the immediate future, but in the long run, what will serve you better is the wisdom to positively deal with people and situations, and the ability to apply your knowledge in a way that benefits everyone.

    In fact the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) introduced by the CBSE is a great way to enable the latent talents and abilities of students now. Some parents and teachers do complain how children do not have any fear of exams anymore and hence acadon’t study. But the other side of the coin shows how schools and teachers are slowlygearing up to look at students not just as roll numbers, but as human beings with abilities and skills other than just memorising. So here are some things you can do to make sure that your learning is not limited to the content of your textbooks.

    Learn To Dance, Sing, Play an Instrument

    Learning to dance or sing, play an instrument or a sport can be a great way to develop your personality. Not only can you give your talents a thrust, but also find the discipline to stay committed to something that is challenging. As you get better at it, your confidence level goes up and it starts showing in your personality as well. Taking part in competitions or recitals will challenge you further and help you find new limits to break.


    Studying or working in high pressure environments is a challenge for the best of us. It can become very difficult to keep track of the things that are important, when faced with a huge list of things that all need to be done simultaneously. It can really help here to make a list of all the things that you consider valuable to your life, and rank them in the order of their importance. Then, figure out what needs to be done in which area, and how critical it is. Doing this can really help you stay on top of things instead of getting overwhelmed and struggling to cope all the time. This means that you will be able to make time for all the things you need, instead of continually missing out on the things that matter most to you.

    Take Up a Research Project or An Internship

    An internship or research project can really help you get a feel of what work conditions will be like once you complete your course. You get hands-on experience working with professionals in the field. This can help you figure out if the field or the role you have chosen is right for you, and if the work environment suits you or not. Taking up such projects will help you work independently and be able to apply the things you learn in the classroom. This keeps you motivated, makes you more responsible for your own learning, and helps you get better at solving problems. And of course, any experience you gain adds value to your resume.

    Stay up-to-Date On Current Affairs

    Reading about what’s going on in the world lets you in on perspectives other than your own and helps you figure out where you stand on various issues. Stay tuned in to what’s happening in the world around you by keeping some time aside just to catch up on the day’s events. Encourage yourself to read more, especially about issues that you feel strongly about. Start a blog, or look for other channels through which you can express your views and engage with others in discussing them.

    Read Books, Watch Movies

    It’s important to be aware of the different kinds of challenges people face in their lives, and get different perspectives on life. Reading is a habit that really helps you achieve this. Besides that, reading is also just a very good way of escaping the world for a little while. Try to read about as many different situations and people as you can. If you don’t feel like reading, watch a movie. Either way, this will force you to think about different kinds of issues.

    Take Up Some Extracurricular Activities

    It’s also a good idea to take up some extracurricular activities, as these will give you something to focus on besides you studies.If these are group activities, they will also give you some great experience of working with teams and dealing with different kinds of people. If you like interesting discussions, you could join a debate team. If you enjoy photography or art, you could join an art or photography club. If your college doesn’t have any such groups, you could always float the idea among your teachers, or take the initiative and start something with a group of friends. If other people find your ideas interesting, they will quickly follow suit.

    Spend Time With your Friends

    Your friends are probably the most important people in your life. They can usually understand you better than your family, since they are closer to you in both age and the circumstances you deal with. They can help you get different perspectives on issues that people significantly older than you may not be able to understand.

    Keep Some Time Just for Yourself

    Identify the things you love doing, and keep some time aside for them. Don’t let the pressure of studies kill off your interest in things which you are passionate about, but which may not be related to your academic life. It could be anything from playing football, to playing the piano, to just watching your favourite TV show. Whatever it is, it’s important that you take some time out to do it, because not doing it will leave you dissatisfied and restless.

    Don't Become Over-Confident

    Learning is a continuous process. However old we may get, we never stop learning. Resist the urge to be critical of others who may know less than you, and in awe of those who may know more. Those who are academically less knowledgeable than you may know more about some things that you have no idea about. And those who know more may be completely ignorant in other areas. Respect everyone for whoever they are. Value their perspective instead of judging them for it. And don’t let your pride get in the way of your learning.

    Help Others

    This is something that comes naturally to us, but somewhere along the way as we grow up, we tend to let go of chances to help others. Every time you help someone,you make it easier for someone to move ahead a bit. You will make friends, and in the process of helping, learn new things as well.Of course, remember not to overdo it and be taken for a ride by people who never want to do things on their own.

    What are the Documents Required

    In most cases, the bank will give you a checklist of documents required. Some of the most commonly needed documents are

    • Proof of course admission/scholarship details Schedule of fees and expenses
    • Certificate and marksheet of the last qualifying examination
    • Documents related to proof of income, assets, liabilities, etc
    • Identity proof and residence proof, if the applicant is not an existing customer of the bank
    • Bank account statement for the last six months
    • Income tax assessment order for the preceding two years
    • Prints of foreign exchange sanctions, if relevant

    How Do I Repay

    In their repayment process, education loans differ from other loans. A moratorium period is provided to students for the repayment of the loan, and students can postpone the repayment till the course ends. In almost all banks, the moratorium period ends and the repayment process begins one year after the student has completed the course or six months after the student has secured a job, whichever comes earlier. The repayment period is generally between five and seven years, from the beginning of repayment. Most banks offer students the option to pay through Equated Monthly Instalments (EMIs). The EMI is calculated in accordance with the number of years that the student chooses for the repayment. The terms and conditions of repaying the loan also differ in each bank.

    Points to Remember When looking to Get a Loan

    • Check with as many banks as possible. This will help you land the best deal
    • Thoroughly enquire about all the expenses that different banks will cover under your education loan
      Collect all possible details about the interest rates
    • Most banks don’t charge a processing fee for education loans. If your preferred bank charges one, see if you can have it waived
    • If you have a scholarship that covers part of your course, you can still get an education loan to cover the rest of your expenses
    • Find out all the details about the prepayment fee
    • Enquire about repayment option